Assessment of possible solid-phase phosphate sorbents to mitigate eutrophication: Influence of pH and anoxia

Maíra Mucci*, Valentini Maliaka, Natalia Pessoa Noyma, Marcelo Manzi Marinho, Miquel Lürling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Managing eutrophication remains a challenge to water managers. Currently, the manipulation of biogeochemical processes (i.e., geo-engineering) by using phosphorus-adsorptive techniques has been recognized as an appropriate tool to manage the problem. The first step in finding potential mitigating materials is conducting a sequence of upscaling studies that commence with controlled laboratory experiments. Here, the abilities of 10 possible solid–phase-sorbents (SPS) to adsorb P were examined. Four materials adsorbed P, and two of these materials were modified, i.e., a lanthanum-modified-bentonite (LMB) and an aluminum-modified-zeolite (AMZ), and had the highest adsorption capacities of 11.4 and 8.9 mg P g− 1, respectively. Two natural materials, a red soil (RS) and a bauxite (BAU), were less efficient with adsorption capacities of 2.9 and 3.4 mg P g− 1, respectively. Elemental composition was not related to P adsorption. Since SPS might be affected by pH and redox status, we also tested these materials at pH values of 6, 7, 8 and 9 and under anoxic condition. All tested materials experienced decreased adsorption capacities under anoxic condition, with maximum adsorptions of 5.3 mg P g− 1 for LMB, 5.9 mg P g− 1 for AMZ, 0.2 mg P g− 1 for RS and 0.2 mg P g− 1 for BAU. All materials were able to adsorb P across the range of pH values that were tested. The maximum adsorption capacities of LMB and RS were highest at pH 6, AMZ was higher at a pH of 9 and BAU at a pH of 8. Thus, pH influenced P adsorption differently. Given the effects of pH and anoxia, other abiotic variables should also be considered. Considering the criteria that classify a useful SPS (i.e., effective, easy to produce, cheap and safe), only the two modified materials that were tested seem to be suitable for upscaling to enclosure studies with anoxic sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1440
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Geo-engineering
  • Phosphate adsorption
  • Phosphorus control


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