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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 228:464 | Cite as

Application of Zeolites for Sustainable Agriculture: a Review on Water and Nutrient Retention

  • Seyyed Ali Akbar Nakhli
  • Madjid DelkashEmail author
  • Babak Ebrazi Bakhshayesh
  • Hossein Kazemian
Article

Abstract

Developing urbanization, water shortage, watercourse pollution, and demands for more food due to population growth require a more efficient water irrigation and fertilizer application. Retaining nutrients and water in agricultural soils brings about higher crop yields and prevents pollution of water courses. Among different solutions, zeolites, which are environmental friendly, ubiquitous, and inexpensive, have been extensively employed in agricultural activities. These minerals are considered as soil conditioners to improve soil physical and chemical properties including infiltration rate, saturated hydraulic conductivity (K s), water holding capacity (WHC), and cation exchange capacity (CEC). Natural and surface-modified zeolites can efficiently hold water and nutrients including ammonium (NH4 +), nitrate (NO3 ) and phosphate (PO4 3−), potassium (K+), and sulfate (SO4 2−) in their unique porous structures. Their application as slow-release fertilizers (SRFs) are reported as well. Therefore, zeolite application can improve both water use efficiency (WUE) and nutrient use efficiency (NUE) in agricultural activities and consequently can reduce the potential of surface and groundwater pollution. This review paper summarizes findings in the literature about the impact of zeolite applications on water and nutrient retention in the agriculture. Furthermore, it explores benefits and drawbacks of zeolite applications in this regard.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

Zeolite Sustainable agriculture Water retention Nutrient leaching 

Abbreviations

BTEX

Benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene

BTC

Breakthrough curve

CEC/ECEC

Cation exchange capacity/external cation exchange capacity

DODMA/DODMAB

Dioctadecyldimethylammonium/ dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide

ECiw

Electrical conductivity of irrigation water

ECw

Electrical conductivity

HDTMA/HDTMAB

Hexadecyltrimethylammonium/ hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide

Kfs

Field saturated hydraulic conductivity

Ks

Saturated hydraulic conductivity

MCL

Maximum contaminant level

NUE

Nitrogen/nutrient use efficiency

PR

Phosphate rock

s

Sorptivity

SARiw

Sodium adsorption ratio of irrigation water

SMZ

Surfactant-modified zeolite

SRF

Slow-release fertilizer

t

Time

VOC

Volatile organic compounds

v v−1

Volume fraction

WHC

Water holding capacity

WHO

World Health Organization

WUE

Water use efficiency

w w−1

Mass fraction

XRD

X-ray diffraction

z

Cumulative infiltration

Z

Zeolite application rate

σg

Mean soil particle diameter standard deviation

Chemical Symbols

Al

Aluminum

AsO4−3

Arsenate

Ca

Calcium

Cd

Cadmium

Cr

Chrome

CrO42−

Chromate

Cs

Cesium

Cu

Copper

Fe

Iron

K

Potassium

Mn

Manganese

N

Nitrogen

Na

Sodium

Ni

Nickel

NH4+

Ammonium

NO3

Nitrate

N2O

Nitrous oxide

P

Phosphorous

Pb

Lead

PO43−

Phosphate

S

Sulfur

Si

Silicon

SO42−

Sulfate

Sr

Strontium

Zn

Zinc

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seyyed Ali Akbar Nakhli
    • 1
  • Madjid Delkash
    • 1
    Email author
  • Babak Ebrazi Bakhshayesh
    • 1
  • Hossein Kazemian
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Zeolitic & Nano-Materials LabWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.College of Science and ManagementUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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