Phosphorus removal from aqueous solutions containing low concentration of phosphate using pyrite calcinate sorbent

  • T.-H. Chen
  • J.-Z. Wang
  • J. Wang
  • J.-J. Xie
  • C.-Z. Zhu
  • X.-M. Zhan
Original Paper


Natural pyrite was modified by calcination under nitrogen (N2) atmosphere to produce a novel sorbent for removing phosphorus (P) with low concentration from aqueous solutions. The crystallinity, porous texture, magnetic susceptibility and performance in P removal of pyrite calcinates depended on calcination temperatures. The sorbent obtained at calcination temperature of 500–600 °C possessed the most efficient P removal. Solution pH in the range of 3.0–9.0 and anions of chloridion (Cl), nitrate (NO3) and sulfate (SO4 2−) had ignorable effect on P removal. The batch adsorption experiment shows that the maximum sorption capacities for P of this novel sorbent (q m) were up to 1.61–5.36 mg P/g at adsorption temperatures of 15–35 °C. Dynamic sorption and regeneration experiments were conducted in an adsorption column filled with pyrite calcined at 600 °C. The study found that oxygen was an important control factor responsible for P adsorption because the oxidization of Fe2+ to Fe3+ on the surface of the sorbent followed by P being bound to a ferric hydroxide surface film was the crucial processes. The mechanism was confirmed with surface characterization techniques including field emission scanning electron microscope and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. This research potentially provides a cheap, abundant sorbent for P removal from the secondary effluent of municipal wastewater treatment plant.


Calcinations Low concentration of phosphate Pyrite Removal efficiency 



This study was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41072035, 41102023) and the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (20110111110003). The authors appreciate the financial support.

Supplementary material

13762_2013_450_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 4129 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • T.-H. Chen
    • 1
  • J.-Z. Wang
    • 1
  • J. Wang
    • 1
  • J.-J. Xie
    • 1
  • C.-Z. Zhu
    • 1
  • X.-M. Zhan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Resources and Environmental EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina
  2. 2.Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and InformaticsNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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