New research shows that aluminum chloride — a compound often used in deodorant sticks for humans — can help reduce phosphorus runoff and ammonia emissions from livestock facilities.

Alum, or aluminum sulfate, has been used in the poultry industry for years. In poultry litter, the alum grabs onto the phosphate and keeps it from escaping into waterways. It also reduces the buildup of ammonia gas in poultry houses. However, when alum is used on liquid manure from pigs and dairy cattle it generates smelly sulfuric gases.

That caused researchers, led by Soil Scientist Philip Moore, Jr., at the Agricultural Research Service Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit, to look for a better alternative. He’s also the researcher who discovered alum’s benefits in the poultry industry.

Now research shows that aluminum chloride is a better aluminum product to treat liquid manure from hogs and dairy cows. According to the research, “aluminum chloride can impressively — and cost-effectively — reduce phosphorus runoff and atmospheric ammonia levels in animal facilities.”

That’s significant, since high atmospheric ammonia levels threaten the respiratory health of both animals and farm workers. They also negatively affect water quality by increasing atmospheric nitrogen deposition.

You can find more details about the research by following this link.