Renewable Resource Based Magnetic Nanocomposites for Phosphate Remediation


Phosphorus (P) remediation is an extremely difficult and costly environmental problem. Phosphorus run offs can lead to “dead zones” due to eutrophication and hypoxia leading to the death of aquatic life. Currently there is no commercial product for P removal in an economical way from large water sources to meet recent, stringent EPA requirements (costs are estimated to be $44.5 billion using conventional methods). Furthermore, Phosphorus (a key component for fertilizers) is a finite resource. About 65 percent of US production comes from pit mines near Tampa, Fla and are estimated to deplete in a few decades. Hence, the removal and reuse of phosphorus from point and non-point sources is needed to alleviate this growing problem.


Researchers at UA Little Rock have developed high surface area magnetite particles embedded in wood as well as in carbon that are highly efficient in reducing Phosphorus to ultra low levels (as low as 0.01 mg/L). The Phosphorus can be recovered from the media and potentially recycled as fertilizers in the form of solids, calcium phosphate and struvite (MgNH4PO4) or as liquid fertilizer solutions of potassium or ammonium phosphate. The media can be regenerated at least 10 times for successive removal. Nanocomposites also have potential multifunctional applications, such as visible-light photodegradation of organics and odor suppression.


  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Cheap Raw Material
  • Fast Process


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