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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Decreasing Nitrogen Leaching from Sandy Soil with Ammonium-Loaded Clinoptilolite


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 3, p. 656-663
    Received: Apr 8, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): jlboett@cc.usu.edu
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  1. T. S. Perrin *,
  2. J. L. Boettinger,
  3. D. T. Drost and
  4. J. M. Norton
  1. Department of Plants, Soils, and Biometeorology, Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322-4820.



Nitrogen (N) loss from irrigated cropland, particularly sandy soils, significantly contributes to nitrate (NO3) levels in surface and groundwaters. In this study, as a preface to a plant growth study, we compared N leaching from NH+4-loaded clinoptilolite (A-Cp) and (NH4)2SO4 (AS) in two media: a rounded quartz sand and a sandy soil. We hypothesized that quartz sand or soil amended with A-Cp would leach significantly less N than these media amended with AS, and that more N would leach from smaller A-Cp size fractions than from larger A-Cp size fractions. Ammonium sulfate, or one of the three A-Cp size fractions, small (<0.25 mm), medium (0.25–2 mm), or large (2–4 mm), was banded at a depth of 5 cm in leaching columns filled with inert quartz sand at a rate of 112, 224, or 336 kg N ha−1. The experiment was repeated with sandy soil in greenhouse pots at rates of 112 and 224 kg N ha−1. The columns and pots were leached for about 40 d with a simulated irrigation water. Significantly more N, as NH+4 and NO3, leached from AS amendments than any of the A-Cp amendments in both experiments. Results indicated that the larger the A-Cp size fraction, the slower NH+4 is released from A-Cp. Ammonium-Cp slowly releases N and could significantly minimize N leaching from sandy soils compared to AS.

This research was supported by the Utah Agric. Exp. Stn., Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322-4820, USDA Coop. State Res. Serv. Special Water Quality Grant 93-34214-8903, and Utah Mineral Lease Funds. Approved as UAES Journal no. 5067.

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