Chinese researchers have developed a new material that can absorb heavy metal ions from fertilizer, decreasing environmental pollution.
The material, a nanocomposite, was developed by a team led by Wu Zhengyan of the Hefei Institute of Physical Science under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It can "grab" arsenic and copper ions from manure with high efficiency.
The results were published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
Heavy metals in animal fodder leave the manure of domestic animals with high levels of heavy metal ions such as arsenic and copper. As a result, organic fertilizer made from the manure also contains heavy metals, which can cause damage to the environment as well as human body.
Using clay and charcoal, Wu's team managed to develop a material that can absorb the heavy metal and keep the ions away from crop roots.
The material is environmentally friendly, easy to make and cost-efficient, providing a good solution to bottlenecks in the livestock and fertilizer industries, Wu said.