CREA Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Via dei Fiori 8, 51012 Pescia, PT, Italy
The aim of this research was to evaluate the fertilizing capacity of an innovative zeolite product, characterised 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, SO3 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 flowers 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 104 cfu/g compared with 2.3 x 102 cfu/g in the control in strawberries and 3.2 x 104 cfu/g compared with 2.6 x 102 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 defence of plants. The Ecoat product that performed best in the trial can play the role of both a nitrogen-based fertiliser and, thanks to its organic matrix, of stimulating microbial development in the substrate in which the plants are grown.
Keywords: Sustainable agriculture; Zeolites; Ornamental plants; Organic farming; Biofertilizers
How to cite this article:
Domenico Prisa. 2021. Zeolites Encapsulated with Organic Matrices in Vegetable and Ornamental Plants Fertilization.Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci. 10(6): 415-425. doi: https://doi.org/10.20546/ijcmas.2021.1006.044