Kwakye-Awuah, Bright (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
The production of silver-loaded zeolites either by ion exchange method or by isomorphous substitution of silver ions into zeolites frameworks and their antimicrobial activity is presented. Silver-loaded zeolites produced by ion-exchange in this work include silver-exchanged zeolite X, silver-exchanged zeolite A and silver-exchanged high-alumina Phillipsite. Silver-doped Analcime was produced by isomorphous substitution of silver ions into the Analcime framework. The silver-loaded zeolites were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis, particle size analysis and Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Studies showed that the amount of silver ions loaded into the zeolites frameworks differed for each zeolite. XRD analysis showed little or no changes in the phase purity of all zeolites before and after ion exchange or before and after substitution of silver ions. SEM analysis and particle size analysis showed that the morphology of each zeolite particles was closely related before and after ion exchanged or before and after substitution of silver ions. The antimicrobial activity of these silver-loaded zeolites was investigated by exposing Escherichia coli K12W-T, Staphylococcus aureus NCIMB6571 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCIMB8295 suspended in tryptone soya broth (TSB) to the silver-loaded zeolites. The first stage of the investigation involved the exposure of the strains to silver-loaded zeolites in TSB for a duration of 24 hours at different concentration of silver-loaded zeolites. The second stage involved the exposure of the strains to silver-loaded zeolites in TSB over a period of two hours. The persistency of antimicrobial activity of silver-loaded zeolites was investigated by retrieving each silver-loaded zeolite from the first exposure cultures, washed copiously with de-ionised water and adding to fresh bacterial suspensions. To understand the mode of antimicrobial activity of the silver-loaded zeolites, the uptake of silver ions by the strains, composition of fatty acid, as well as the DNA content of Escherichia coli K12W-T was studied. The results obtained showed silver ions appeared to elute from the zeolites frameworks into the TSB in anomalous trend. All three microorganisms were completely inhibited within one hour with the silver-loaded zeolites retaining their antimicrobial activity. The release of silver ions from the zeolites frameworks followed first-order kinetics with varying rate constants and half-lives. The fatty acid composition of all strains as well as the DNA content of Escherichia coli K12W-T were affected by the action of silver ions.
Jakkula, Vijay S. (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
Zeolites have been used in agriculture since the 1960s, due to the effectiveness of these crystalline microporous solids as soil amendments for plant growth, their cation exchange capacity (CEC) and slow-release fertilizer properties. Most work on slow-release fertilizers has focused on natural Clinoptilolite, Phillipsite and Chabazite. The aim of this study was to synthesize zeolites, study their effectiveness as soil amendments and their ability to act as controlled release fertilizers to decrease nitrate leaching. Nitrate pollution of groundwater is a major agro-environmental concern. The zeolites Phillipsite and Linde-type F were synthesized from aluminosilicate gels; ion exchanged to introduce ammonium and characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), Thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) and Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques, both before and after ion exchange. Ammoniumexchanged Phillipsites (natural and synthetic), ammonium-exchanged synthetic Linde-type F (the zeolite having highest affinity towards ammonium) and ammonium exchanged Phillipsites (high crystalline and high aluminium) were compared with conventional NPK fertilizer.Three glasshouse experiments were performed to study the effects of zeolite-amended soils on maize growth. Ion exchanged synthetic and natural Phillipsites were first used as soil amendments (w/w 2, 4, 8% zeolite to soil). Synthetic Phillipsite, at 2% loading, resulted in the most significant improvement in both plant growth and phased ammonium release. The synthetic ammonium-exchanged zeolites Phillipsite and Linde-type F (at w/w 1, 2, 4%) were then compared; synthetic Phillipsite, at 2% loading, again resulted in the most significant plant growth response with an increase (≥15%) in shoot dry weight and a decrease (≥30%) in nitrate leaching. Experiments using unexchanged synthetic Phillipsite (at w/w 2%), but with added NPK fertilizer, showed increased plant growth and decreased nitrate leaching, compared with parallel experiments containing unexchanged synthetic Linde-type F (at w/w 2%) and a conventional fertilizer amended soil. This revealed the beneficial effect of Phillipsite for soil amendment, even without ion exchange to the ammonium form. To study the physico-chemical properties affecting the release of ammonium from the Phillipsite framework; high crystalline/low aluminium and low crystalline/high aluminium forms were synthesized and ion exchanged. Both forms were introduced as soil amendments (at w/w 1 and 2%) and experiments showed that the lower zeolite crystallinity decreased cation exchange and therefore decreased nitrate leaching. Experimental results from the glasshouse experiments and cation exchange capacity (CEC) experiments suggest that synthetic Phillipsite, at lower loadings (1 and 2% w/w zeolite to soil) have most potential as soil amendments for both plant growth and controlled-release applications. This conclusion is supported by soil leachate and shoots dry weight analysis. Furthermore, Phillipsite, synthesized in a low crystalline and low ammonium form, may be an even better soil amendment for controlled release of ammonium, which will thereby further decrease nitrate pollution.
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