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.
Uses of Natural Zeolites
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- Agriculture and animal farming
Agriculture and animal farming
Zeolite’s physical structure and geometry of particles makes it very good natural absorbent. In 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 overall health of animals and on their body weight increase as well as lower mortality rate. Additional advantage of adding zeolite to animal feed is 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 quickly and is of higher quality.
Micronized zeolite is very effective antioxidant and is used for treatment of various medical conditions related to oxidative stress in organism. Micronized zeolite is particularly efficient in neutralisation of free radicals in the organism. Various medical studies have been made to study positive effects of micronized zeolite on cancer diseases. Reduction of amount of free-radicals in the tissues also proved to be most beneficial for medical conditions
Commonly treated medical conditions are arthritis, psoriasis, periodontosis, diabetes mellitus, allergies, wounds and burns. It also improves overall health and has shown additional benefits like 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 a very good carrier of various pharmaceuticals allowing for their easier passage through acidic surrounding in stomach and their gradual release in the colon. In that way effectiveness of various chemical compounds is increased.
Micronized zeolite is often used as additive or even basis of various cosmetic products. Strong antioxidative properties are most beneficial in anti-ageing products where they proved themselves efficient in neutralisation of free-radicals in skin tissues.
Micronized zeolite is often used as carrier of useful chemical compounds to inner skin structure where it slowly releases it thus nurturing skin for longer periods of time then commonly used cosmetic products. Zeolite is commonly 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.
- Environmental protection
Zeolite ionic exchange properties and good absorption properties makes it commonly used in waste water filtering and treatment, tap water filtering and treatment etc.
In emergency situations zeolite is used as absorbent for chemical spills and it is of particular interest that due to its particular structure and ion exchange it is able to fix certain radionuclides (Cs, Sr, Co, Cr) in nuclear power plant waste water after which it is hot pressed into pellets and bricks of ceramic type of material which are easier to handle and store.
- Industrial use
Zeolites are used in 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).
Other 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 production of laundry detergents.