A Comprehensive Review of the Available Media and Approaches for Phosphorus Recovery from Wastewater

  • Lihong Peng
  • Hongliang Dai
  • Yifeng Wu
  • Yonghong Peng
  • Xiwu Lu


Phosphorus (P) is an essential element for all living organisms, and plays a major role in many physiological processes. However, in recent years, excessive amounts of P discharged into aquatic environments have become one of the main causes of water eutrophication, which has negative effects on water quality. Therefore, it is desirable to implement technologies to recover P from P-containing solutions to maintain the natural P cycle and reduce the level of P entering surface waters. This work reviews the latest studies on P recovery technologies, with a specific focus on current approaches and treatment media including seed materials, microorganisms, wetland plants, and membrane materials. This review also investigates the potential for P recovery, the purity of recovered products, the technical and economic feasibility of different approaches, and the resulting ecological and economic benefits. Building upon the outcomes of previous studies, technological innovations in P recovery media and approaches were considered to evaluate their advantages, difficulties, and inherent limitations. This comprehensive review provides the basis for additional research and the future development of P recovery in response to the increasing severity of eutrophication and the imminent depletion of P reserves.


Phosphorus recovery Struvite Hydroxyapatite Calcium silicate hydrate Crystallization Microbial fuel cells 



This research was funded by the Major Science and Technology Project of Water Pollution Control and Management in China (2012ZX07101005), the National Science and Technology Support Program in China (2015BAL01B01), the Scientific Research Foundation of Graduate School of Southeast University (YBJJ1643), and Water pollution control project in Taihu (TH2016203). We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that improved the manuscript.

The English in this document has been checked by at least two professional editors, both native speakers of English. For a certificate, please see:


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lihong Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hongliang Dai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yifeng Wu
    • 1
  • Yonghong Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiwu Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Energy and EnvironmentSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.ERC Taihu Lake Water Environment (Wuxi)WuxiChina

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