Peter J. Leggo
zeolitic tuff, organic waste, ammonium ions, nitrate, crenarchaeota, phosphate, potassium
A highly effective biological fertilizer (bio-fertilizer) can be produced cheaply in countries that have a source of a suitable type of zeolitic rock (tuff). Such rocks occur worldwide in areas of past or current volcanism. In the event of explosive volcanic activity huge volumes of silicic glass and other debris are projected into the atmosphere. Reaching high altitude the fine material is separated forming ash clouds of fine grained glass shards. On entering water they become thick beds of sediment producing a rock having a high abundance of zeolite. On uplift they are available for open cast quarrying. When mixed with organic waste, either animal or plant, a biological fertilizer is produced. Ammonium ions, from the decomposing organic waste, are captured by the zeolite. When the fertilizer is added to the soil the ammonium ions become oxidised by soil micro-organisms (Crenarchaeota) to nitrate together hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions, reacting with the substrate, provide a range of essential and beneficial plant nutrients. Unlike chemical fertilizers (NPK) the nutrients are delivered slowly as the plant grows and there is little surplus to leach into the ground and thus the bio-fertilizer is not highly susceptible to leaching by rainfall. Adequate phosphate ions are available from the organic waste and potassium, being a more ubiquitous element is present in the soil / organic mixture and acts to back exchange ammonium ions that are oxidized to nitrate as mentioned above.
Cite this paper
Peter J. Leggo. (2017) The Organo-Zeolitic-Soil System: A New Biological Approach to Plant Nutrition. International Journal of Agricultural Science, 2, 7-14