Histamine-binding capacities of different natural zeolites: a comparative study

Environ Geochem Health. 2018 Dec;40(6):2657-2665. doi: 10.1007/s10653-018-0129-5. Epub 2018 Jun 7.


Two different natural zeolites from Cuba and Mexico, which are already being used as contemporaneous drugs or dietary supplements in Germany and Mexico, respectively, are applied in a comparative study of their histamine-binding capacities as a function of their particle sizes. The zeolites are characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and N2-sorption measurements (BET surface areas). The Cuban zeolite contains clinoptilolite and mordenite as major phases (78% zeolite), whereas the Mexican one contains only clinoptilolite (65% zeolite). Both zeolites are apparently free from fibrous materials according to SEM. Both zeolites adsorb significant amount of histamine under the experimental conditions. Nevertheless, the results showed that the histamine-binding capacity of the Cuban zeolite is higher than the Mexican one and the smaller the particle size of zeolite, the higher the histamine-binding capacity. This difference could be due to the variation in their mineralogical compositions resulting in varied BET surface areas. Thus, the high histamine-binding capacities of Cuban zeolites seem to be due at least partly to the presence of the large-pore zeolite mordenite, providing high total pore volumes, which will be discussed in detail. For the first time, we have shown that the mineralogical compositions of natural zeolites and their particle sizes play a key role in binding histamine, which is one of the most important regulators in human physiology.

Keywords: Clinoptilolite; Cuban and Mexican zeolites; Histamine uptake; Mordenite; Morphology; Natural zeolite.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Aluminum Silicates / chemistry*
  • Cuba
  • Germany
  • Histamine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • Particle Size
  • X-Ray Diffraction
  • Zeolites / chemistry*


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • clinoptilolite
  • mordenite
  • Zeolites
  • Histamine