Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 2914–2923 | Cite as

Immobilization of phosphate by a Technosol spolic silandic: kinetics, equilibrium and dependency on environmental variables

  • Diego Arán
  • Juan AnteloEmail author
  • Sarah Fiol
  • Felipe Macías
Soils, Sec 2 • Global Change, Environ Risk Assess, Sustainable Land Use • Research Article



Phosphorus is an essential element that at high concentrations generates eutrophication of aquatic systems. In this study, we used batch and continuous tests to evaluate the efficiency of a Technosol to retain the phosphorus present (as phosphate) in aqueous samples.

Materials and methods

Phosphate sorption on Technosol was studied through batch and continuous experiments. Sorption kinetics and isotherms were investigated at different phosphate loadings and pH. In batch tests, we have determined how the presence of different anions (bicarbonate, sulphate, chloride, chromate and molybdate) affected phosphate retention. In continuous flow systems, phosphate immobilization was assessed as a function of flow rate, pH and Technosol concentration. Finally, the potential reutilization of the column was evaluated using consecutive sorption-desorption cycles.

Results and discussion

Phosphate sorption follows a pseudo-second-order kinetics model and a Langmuir isotherm model. The maximum sorption capacity ranged from 7.1 to 18.5 mg g−1, with larger values obtained at the highest pH. The main mechanisms involved in the sorption process were precipitation (as Ca-P minerals) and surface adsorption. In the column experiments, we observed a sorption reduction from 6.19 ± 0.06 to 2.37 ± 0.06 mg g−1 as the flow rate increased from 1.5 to 5.0 mL min−1. In addition, the retention capacity decreased by 14% when the height of the reactive layer was halved. Finally, the retention capacity of the Technosol spolic silandic recovered well after several sorption-desorption cycles, reaching 40% of the original value after first and second cycles.


The material effectively retained phosphate in batch and continuous flow systems. The Technosol spolic silandic is considered an efficient sorbent to remove the excess of phosphate from the soil solution and the aqueous system. This material may be a useful tool to mitigate or minimize two important environmental problems: eutrophication and the scarcity of natural sources of phosphate. The Technosol can thus be recycled as a phosphate-rich amendment and the leachates can be used to produce liquid fertilizer.


Andic Decontamination Eutrophication Phosphate Sorption Technosol 



This work was supported by the Group of Excellence GI-1245, AMBIOSOL (Instituto de Investigaciones Tecnológicas − Universidad de Santiago de Compostela; GRC2014/003) financed by Xunta de Galicia and by the INTERREG V-A POCTEP Program (0366/RES2VALHUM/1/P). The authors belong to the CRETUS Strategic Partnership (AGRUP2015/02), co-funded by FEDER (UE). The authors thank the company CVAN (Centro de Valorización Ambiental del Norte. Touro, Spain) for preparing and supplying the Technosol. Two anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged for their feedback and constructive comments, which have greatly contributed to improve this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11368_2018_1970_MOESM1_ESM.docx (160 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 159 kb)


  1. Antelo J, Avena M, Fiol S, López R, Arce F (2005) Effects of pH and ionic strength on the adsorption of phosphate and arsenate at the goethite–water interface. J Colloid Interface Sci 285:476–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antelo J, Arce F, Fiol L (2015) Arsenate and phosphate adsorption on ferrihydrite nanoparticles. Synergetic interaction with calcium ions. Chem Geol 410:53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnalds O (2008) Andosols. In: Chesworth W (ed) Encyclopedia of soil science. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 39–46Google Scholar
  4. Barca C, Gérente C, Meyer D, Chazarenc F, Andrès Y (2012) Phosphate removal from synthetic and real wastewater using steel slags produced in Europe. Water Res 46:2376–2384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Belelli PG, Fuente SA, Castellani NJ (2014) Phosphate adsorption on goethite and Al-rich goethite. Comput Mater Sci 85:59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borggaard OK, Raben-Lange B, Gimsing AL, Strobel BW (2005) Influence of humic substances on phosphate adsorption by aluminium and iron oxides. Geoderma 127:270–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camps M, Madinabeitia Z, Anza Z, Macías-García F, Virgel S, Macías F (2008) Extractability and leachability of heavy metals in Technosols prepared from mixtures of unconsolidated wastes. Waste Manag 28:2653–2666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coulibaly LS, Akpo SK, Yvon J, Coulibaly L (2016) Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy investigation, dose effect, kinetics and adsorption capacity of phosphate from aqueous solution onto laterite and sandstone. J Environ Manag 183:1032–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Del Nero M, Galindo C, Barillon R, Halter E, Madé B (2010) Surface reactivity of α-Al2O3 and mechanisms of phosphate sorption: in situ ATR–FTIR spectroscopy and ζ potential studies. J Colloid Interface Sci 342:437–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. EC (1991) Directive 91/271/EEC of the European parliament and of the council—on concerning urban waste water treatment. Off J Eur Communities:135/40–135/52Google Scholar
  11. FAO and ITPS (2015) Status of the world’s soil resources (SWSR)—main report. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  12. Gu X, Xie J, Wang X, Evans LJ (2017) A simple model to predict chromate partitioning in selected soils from China. J Hazard Mater 322:421–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IUSS Working Group WRB (2015) World reference base for soil resources 2014, update 2015 international soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No. 106. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  14. Karageorgiou K, Paschalis M, Anastassakis GN (2007) Removal of phosphate species from solution by adsorption onto calcite used as natural adsorbent. J Haz Mater A139:447–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lehmann A (2006) Technosols and other proposals on urban soils for the WRB (World Reference Base for Soil Resources). Int Agrophys 20:129–134Google Scholar
  16. Liu X, Zhang L (2015) Removal of phosphate anions using the modified chitosan beads: adsorption kinetic, isotherm and mechanism studies. Powder Technol 277:112–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liu Y, Sheng X, Dong Y, Ma Y (2012) Removal of high-concentration phosphate by calcite: effect of sulfate and pH. Desalination 289:66–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Loganathan P, Vigneswaran S, Kandasamy J, Bolan NS (2014) Removal and recovery of phosphate from water using sorption. Crit Rev Env Sci Technol 44:847–907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Luengo C, Brigante M, Antelo J, Avena M (2006) Kinetics of phosphate adsorption on goethite: comparing batch adsorption and ATR-IR measurements. J Colloid Interface Sci 138:12–19Google Scholar
  20. Manning BA, Goldberg S (1996) Modeling competitive adsorption of arsenate with phosphate and molybdate on oxide minerals. Soil Sci Soc Am J 60:121–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mezenner NY, Bensmali A (2009) Kinetics and thermodynamic study of phosphate adsorption on iron hydroxide-eggshell waste. Chem Eng J 147:87–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Millero F, Huang F, Zhu X, Liu X, Zhang JZ (2001) Adsorption and desorption of phosphate on calcite and aragonite in seawater. Aquat Geochem 7:33–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Monterroso C, Macías F, Gil Bueno A, Val Caballero C (1998) Evaluation of the land reclamation project at the As Pontes Mine (NW Spain) in relation to the suitability of the soil for plant growth. Land Degrad Dev 9:441–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Murphy J, Riley JP (1962) A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters. Anal Chim Acta 27:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Novo LAB, Covelo EF, González L (2013) Phytoremediation of amended copper mine tailings with Brassica juncea. Int J Min Reclam Env 27:215–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Parkhurst DL, Appelo CAJ (2013) Description of input and examples for PHREEQC version 3—a computer program for speciation, batch- reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 6, chap A43Google Scholar
  27. Perassi I, Borgnino L (2014) Adsorption and surface precipitation of phosphate onto CaCO3–montmorillonite: effect of pH, ionic strength and competition with humic acid. Geoderma 232–234:600–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pérez C, Antelo J, Fiol S, Arce F (2014) Modeling oxyanion adsorption on ferralic soil, part 2: chromate, selenate, molybdate, and arsenate adsorption. Environ Toxicol Chem 33:2217–2224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodríguez-Vila A, Asensio V, Forján R, Covelo EF (2016) Assessing the influence of technosol and biochar amendments combined with Brassica juncea L. on the fractionation of Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in a polluted mine soil. J Soils Sediments 16:339–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rout PR, Dash RR, Bhunia P (2014) Modelling and packed bed column studies on adsorptive removal of phosphate from aqueous solutions by a mixture of ground burnt patties and red soil. Adv Environ Res 3:231–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rout PR, Bhunia P, Dash RR (2017) Evaluation of kinetic and statistical models for predicting breakthrough curves of phosphate removal using dolochar-packed columns. J Water Process Eng 17:168–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Santos ES, Magalhães MCF, Abreu MM, Macías F (2014) Effects of organic/inorganic amendments on trace elements dispersion by leachates from sulfide-containing tailings of the São Domingos mine, Portugal. Time evaluation. Geoderma 226-227:188–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Santos ES, Abreu MM, Macías F, de Varennes A (2016) Chemical quality of leachates and enzymatic activities in Technosols with gossan and sulfide wastes from the São Domingos mine. J Soils Sediments 16:1366–1382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smith VH, Joye SB, Howarth RW (2006) Eutrophication of freshwater and marine ecosystems. Limnol Oceanogr 51:351–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sparks DL, Page AL, Helmke PA, Loeppert RH (1996) Methods of soil analysis part 3—chemical methods. SSSA Book Ser. 5. Soil Science Society of America, America Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin, USAGoogle Scholar
  36. Vohla C, Kõiv M, Bavor HJ, Chazarenc F, Mander U (2011) Filter materials for phosphorus removal from wastewater in treatment wetlands—a review. Ecol Eng 37:70–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang Z, Shi M, Li J, Zheng Z (2014) Influence of moderate pre-oxidation treatment on the physical, chemical and phosphate adsorption properties of iron-containing activated carbon. J Environ Sci 26:519–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Westholm LJ (2006) Substrates for phosphorus removal—potential benefits for on-site wastewater treatment? Water Res 40:23–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Woumfo ED, Siéwé JM, Njopwouo D (2015) A fixed-bed column for phosphate removal from aqueous solutions using an andosol-bagasse mixture. J Environ Manag 151:450–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Xi B, Zhao Y, Zhang L, Xia X, Luan Z, Peng X, Lv W (2014) Return chemical sludge employed in enhancement of phosphate removal from wastewater. Desalin Water Treat 52:6639–6647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xie J, Lin Y, Li C, Wu D, Kong H (2015) Removal and recovery of phosphate from water by activated aluminum oxide and lanthanum oxide. Powder Technol 269:351–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Xu N, Christodoulatos C, Braida W (2006) Modeling the competitive effect of phosphate, sulfate, silicate, and tungstate anions on the adsorption of molybdate onto goethite. Chemosphere 64:1325–1333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yan GY, Viraraghavan T, Chen M (2001) A new model for heavy metal removal in a biosorption column. Adsorp Sci Technol 19:25–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zeng L, Li XM, Liu JD (2004) Adsorptive removal of phosphate from aqueous solutions using iron oxide tailings. Water Res 38:1318–1326CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil Science and Agricultural ChemistryUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Technological Research InstituteUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Physical ChemistryUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

Personalised recommendations