The decades of peer reviewed research on natural zeolite soil amendments shows that the benefits are related to improved nutrient utilization by the plant. These benefits are not specific to any plant type, geographical region, or climate. The effect of natural zeolites upon macro, micro, and trace nutrients is documented in this research. Dr. Fredrick A Mumpton’s La roca magica: Uses of natural zeolites in agriculture and industry (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 96, pp. 3463–3470, March 1999 Colloquium Paper) and his many other publications give an overview and document the wide range of applications for natural zeolites in agriculture.
Macro Nutrients (NPK)
As the EcoSand loads with the ammonium ion from the soil, other ions such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium are released by an ion exchange reaction. EcoSand’s low sodium level of less than 0.4% sodium (Na2O) is extremely important because this is below the 1% level where sodium toxicity can occur. Care must be taken with natural zeolites or other amendments containing over 1% sodium because sodium toxicity or salinity could become a problem.
Much of the phosphorous in many soils is tied up in an insoluble calcium phosphate mineral where the phosphate is not available to the plant. Ebrel published how natural zeolites can make the insoluble phosphate available by the zeolite ion by exchanging the calcium into the zeolite and leaving the phosphate in the soil where it is available to the plant. Mico nutrients that are tied up by the insoluble phosphate or apatite were also made available by this process.
Micro and Trace Nutrients
Many of the trace elements, especially the rare earth elements, are insoluble like the insoluble apatite phosphate mineral. The same ion exchange process as with the macro and micro makes the trace elements available to the plant.