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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Applications (Uses) of Zeolites in the Livestock and Agriculture Industries.


Zeolites are widely used in the livestock and agriculture industries among other uses. In this article, it discusses the common uses of zeolites in the livestock and agriculture industries. In the Livestock Industry, zeolite is purposely used for improving the growth and health of animals while in the Agriculture Industry, zeolite is used for the purpose of improving the fertility of the soil for healthy growth of cash crops.

The use of zeolites in the livestock industry is basically added to the livestock feed which absorb the toxins in the body of chickens and pigs and finally discharge them out of the body.

Furthermore, the minerals contained in the zeolites actually promote the growth and health of livestock. That is, zeolites adsorb the stench of ammonia to improve the environment and also function as drying aids by virtue of their ability to absorb moisture. Thus, cat litter (litter for pets) utilize such properties of zeolites for optimum benefits.

In the Agriculture Industry, it utilizes the properties of zeolites such as the adsorption capability and Base Exchange capability which prevent the outflow of fertilizers by absorbing the components of fertilizers as well as improving soils by neutralizing soils containing acids or acidic soils. Zeolites also have excellent absorption ability and water retention capacity which make them more effective in preventing either drought or cold weather impacts of any kind cause by nature.

Estimation of cation exchange capacity of zeolite is much more difficult as it is closely related with qualities from its appearance. As such, zeolite powder is not readily distinguished from other rock powder.

Zeolite is specified as land improvement material by a Cabinet Order based on the Soil fertility Enhancement Act (Act No.34 of 1984) in order to assure the quality. According to Cabinet Order, the zeolite must meet the criterion “cation exchange capacity (C.E.C.) per 100 g of dry matter is 50g or more.”

Moreover, the applications or uses of zeolites range from water purification for fish farming to pollution prevention exercises. The water purification for fish farming refers to a function to adsorb ammonia and hydrogen sulfide in water which produces purified water.  In addition to that, zeolites have an effect of softening hard water to stabilize pH.

Besides water purification for fish farming, zeolites are also used for pollution prevention in the following fields:

·         Purification of hazardous components in industrial wastewater.
·         Adsorption treatment of heavy metal ions from abandoned mines.
·         Removal of heavy metals from plating waste.
·         Decolourization of waste water from dye houses.
·         Prevention of eutrophication of lakes and marshes caused by ammonia nitrogen.
·         Removal of harmful components from automobile exhaust gas.

The supply of zeolites depends entirely on clients' demand and off course consumption rate. Supply of zeolites is also dictated by scale of mining operation and processing.

Zeolite ore (rock)



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References:
Boiling stone (zeolite), Zeolite Dynamics, Lecture Notes.
Nouko to Engei (Agriculture and Horticulture), September 1978.
JACK News
Materials for Zeolite Forum (1989)
Survey by Zeolite Industrial Association



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