Study on zeolites encapsulated with organic matrices in ornamental plants fertilization

The aim of this research was to evaluate the fertilizing capacity of an innovative zeolite product, characterized by an encapsulated structure with an organic matrix on vegetable and ornamental plants and the interaction with soil microorganisms present in the cultivation substrates.

The experiments, started in January 2021, were conducted in the greenhouses of CREA-OF in Pescia (PT), Tuscany. The experimental groups were: i) group control, irrigated with water and substrate previously fertilized; ii) group with zeolite 21% ammoniacal nitrogen; iii) group with zeolite coated with Ecoat; iv) group with zeolite 21% ammoniacal nitrogen, SO 3 57.7% with nitritification inhibitor dcd (dicyandiamide) and DMPP 3,4 dimethylpyrazole-phosphate.

The trial carried out on strawberry and Polygala myrtifolia actually showed how the use of zeolite can improve the fertilizing properties of the substrate. In particular, the use of encapsulated zeolite resulted in an increase in plant height, vegetative and root weight, number and flowers life, number and weight of fruits in strawberry and Polygala myrtifolia. In addition, there were changes in substrate pH, microbiological count and nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content depending on the type of zeolytic product used.

Research has shown that the use of loaded zeolite can significantly improve the agronomic and production quality of strawberry and Polygala myrtifolia plants. For example, Ecoat treatment with zeolite encapsulated with organic matrices in strawberries resulted in a pot production of 39.61 fruits and a weight of 36.39 g/fruit, compared to 24.21 and 26.48 g/fruit for the untreated control. While in Polygala myrtifolia the same treatment (Ecoat) resulted in 48.00 flowers per plant and a flower life of 9.20 days compared to 34.86 flowers and 6.20 of the control.

The trial also showed that treatment with Ecoat can promote the development of microbial colonies in the substrate, 3.5 x 10 4 cfu/g compared with 2.3 x 10 2 cfu/g in the control in strawberries and 3.2 x 10 4 cfu/g compared with 2.6 x 10 2 cfu/g in Polygala myrtifolia. In addition, the application of these aluminosilicates in substrates can influence the pH and the microbial component that is essential for the cultivation and defense of plants. The Ecoat product that performed best in the trial can play the role of both a nitrogen-based fertilizer and, thanks to its organic matrix, of stimulating microbial development in the substrate in which the plants are grown.

The study is conducted by Domenico Prisa from the Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economy Analysis.

To read the complete study, go to

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