Zeolites are crystalline hydrated aluminosilicate minerals of alkali and alkaline earth cations. They have infinite, three-dimensional structures. Naturally occurring zeolites are very good absorbents, so they have many particular uses in agriculture, animal farming, human medicine, veterinary medicine, cosmetics, environmental protection, industrial applications etc.
Agriculture and animal farming
Zeolite’s physical structure and geometry of particles make it very good natural absorbent. In a practical sense, it means it absorbs, retains and gradually releases fluids and gases. It is for this reason that it is commonly used in agriculture in maintaining constant levels of nitrogen in the soil when saturated with nitrogen compounds.
Zeolite is also used as farm animal food additive as it shows positive bioactive effects on the overall health of animals and their body weight increase as well as lower mortality rate. An additional advantage of adding zeolite to animal feed is the reduction of ammonia and odour of animal excrement which ensures better living conditions.
Very often zeolite is added in the process of dry composting which results in killing the pathogens, reducing the odour, drying the manure more quickly, reducing insects infestations and it kills weed seeds. The resulting manure is thus produced more rapidly and is of higher quality.
Micronised zeolite is a very effective antioxidant and is used for the treatment of various medical conditions related to oxidative stress in an organism. Micronised zeolite is particularly efficient in the neutralisation of free radicals in the body. Numerous medical studies have been conducted investigating the positive effects of micronised zeolite on cancer diseases. Reduction of the number of free radicals in the tissues also proved to be most beneficial for medical conditions.
Commonly treated medical conditions are arthritis, psoriasis, periodontitis, diabetes mellitus, allergies, wounds and burns. It also improves overall health and has shown additional benefits like the improvement of circulatory system, blood count levels, function of digestive system, kidney function, endocrine glands function, increasing endurance etc.
Geometrical structure of zeolite also makes it an excellent carrier of various pharmaceuticals allowing for their easier passage through acidic surrounding in the stomach and their gradual release in the colon. In that way, the effectiveness of different chemical compounds is increased.
Micronised zeolite is often used as an additive or even basis of various cosmetic products. Strong antioxidative properties are most beneficial in anti-ageing products where they proved themselves efficient in the neutralisation of free radicals in skin tissues.
Micronised zeolite is often used as a carrier of useful chemical compounds to inner skin structure where it slowly releases it thus nurturing skin for more extended periods then commonly used cosmetic products. Zeolite is widely used in skin treatment products like skin peeling products and skin cleansing products, eliminating dandruff and soothing skin irritation like nettle rash in children. It also increases skin resistance to UV rays and various other external negative factors.
Zeolite ionic exchange properties and excellent absorption properties make it commonly used in wastewater and tap water filtering and treatment etc.
In emergencies, the zeolite is used as an absorbent for chemical spills. It is of particular interest that due to its specific structure and ion exchange it can fix certain radionuclides (Cs, Sr, Co, Cr) in nuclear power plant wastewater after which it is hot pressed into pellets and bricks of a ceramic type of material which are easier to handle and store.
Zeolites are used in the nuclear industry because of their property of being able to remove some fission products from nuclear waste and to permanently fix them (Cs, Sr, Co, Cr).
Another use of zeolites is in the petrochemical industry where it is used as a catalyst. Zeolites are also used as carriers for various chemical compounds used in the industry. Most notable and widely spread industrial use is in the production of laundry detergents.
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