Anionic Clays as Potential Slow-Release Fertilizers: Nitrate Ion Exchange

Sridhar Komarneni, Bharat L. Newalkar, Dongsheng Li, Tarun Gheyi, Christina L. Lopano, Peter J. Heaney, Jeffrey E. Post

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34 Scopus citations


Several nitrate containing anionic clays were synthesized at different temperatures and the kinetics of NO3- release were determined to test their suitability as slow-release N fertilizers. A sample (Mg:Al = 2:1) synthesized at 60°C with smaller particle size released 75, 86 and 100% of its NO3- in 1, 3 and 7 days, respectively when equilibrated with a simulated soil solution. On the other hand, the 175°C/2 hrs sample with larger particle size released 65, 77 and 84% of its nitrate in 1, 3 and 7 days, respectively. Another anionic clay (synthesized at 175°C/24 hrs) of higher charge density (Mg:Al = 2:1) containing NO 3- was equilibrated with a 0.012 N NaCl or Na 2CO3 to test the role of different anions in releasing the NO3- anion from the interlayers. The results showed that Cl- released more NO3- than did CO 32- from this anionic clay after all the treatment times probably as a result of the CO32- anion blocking the release of NO3- from the interior of the crystals. When a lower charge density (Mg:Al = 3:1) sample (synthesized at 175°C/48 hrs) was equilibrated with 0.02N solution of anions the release of nitrate was as follows: Cl- < F- < SO4= ≤ CO32-. These results suggest that the divalent SO 4- and CO32- anions are more effective in the release of NO3- from this lower charge density anionic clay. Time-resolved structural analysis of NO3 - exchange with CO32- in the above anionic clay using synchrotron x-ray diffraction showed that ion exchange is rapid because of small crystal size and lower charge density. Thus the release of NO3- from anionic clays is an interplay among the type of anions present in soil solution, their concentration, pH of soil solution, the charge density and crystal size of anionic clay etc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Porous Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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