Phosphorus Removal and Recovery from Wastewater using Fe-Dosing Bioreactor and Cofermentation: Investigation by X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Structure Spectroscopy

Ruo Hong Li, Jin Li Cui, Xiang Dong Li, Xiao Yan Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


A new phosphorus (P) removal and recovery process that integrates an FeCl 3 -dosing, membrane bioreactor (MBR), and side-stream cofermentation was developed for wastewater treatment. The Fe and P species and their transformation mechanisms via aerobic and anaerobic conditions were investigated with X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. In the new treatment system, 98.4% of the total P in domestic wastewater was removed and retained in activated sludge in the MBR. During the subsequent acidogenic cofermentation with food waste, P in the MBR sludge was released and eventually recovered as vivianite, achieving an overall P recovery efficiency of 61.9% from wastewater. The main pathways for P removal and recovery with iron dosing and acidogenic fermentation were determined by XANES analysis. The results showed that Fe-enhanced P removal with the MBR was mainly achieved by precipitation as ferric phosphate (24.2%) and adsorption onto hydrous iron oxides (60.3%). During anaerobic fermentation, transition from Fe(III)-P to Fe(II)-P complex occurred in the sludge, leading to Fe(II) dissolution and P release. The pH decrease and microbial Fe reduction were crucial conditions for effective P extraction from the MBR sludge. The efficiency of P recovery increased with an increase in the fermentation time and organic load and a decrease of pH in the solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14119-14128
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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