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Nutrient capture and recycling by periphyton attached to modified agrowaste carriers


The reuse of periphytic biofilm from traditional wastewater treatment (i.e., active sludge process) is inefficient to recycle nutrients due to low accumulation of nutrients. Then, in this study, peanut shell (PS), rice husk (RH), decomposed peanut shell (DPS), acidified rice husks (ARH), and a commonly used carrier—ceramsite (C, as the control)—were used to support the growth of periphyton. Results showed that DPS and ARH supported significantly higher periphyton biomass and metabolic versatility than PS and RH, respectively, due to the increased presence of positive groups. The total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) captured by periphyton were enhanced by 600–657 and 833–3255 % for DPS, and 461–1808 and 21–308 % for ARH, respectively. The removal of nutrients from simulated eutrophic surface waters using periphyton attached to DPS was improved by 24–47 % for TP, 12–048 % for TN, and 15–78 % for nitrate compared to the control. The results indicate that the periphyton attached to modified agrowaste was capable of efficiently entrapping and storing N and P from eutrophic water. This study also implies that the mixture of periphyton and the modified agrowaste carriers are promising raw materials of biofertilizer.

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This work was supported by the State Key Development Program for Basic Research of China (2015CB158200), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41422111).

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Correspondence to Yonghong Wu.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Wan, J., Liu, X., Wu, C. et al. Nutrient capture and recycling by periphyton attached to modified agrowaste carriers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 8035–8043 (2016).

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  • Agrowaste
  • Biomass
  • Biofertilizer
  • Metabolic versatility
  • Periphyton