Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 15980–15989 | Cite as

Performance and mechanisms of thermally treated bentonite for enhanced phosphate removal from wastewater

  • Xiang Chen
  • Lu Wu
  • Feng Liu
  • Pei Luo
  • Xuliang Zhuang
  • Jinshui Wu
  • Zhenke Zhu
  • Shengjun Xu
  • Guixian Xie
Research Article


Optimization of clays as adsorbent for low concentration phosphorus removal from wastewater has received increasing attention in recent years. This study explored the feasibility of using bentonite as an adsorbent for phosphate (P) removal from synthetic wastewater, by assessing the performance of thermally treated bentonite for P removal and elucidating the mechanisms of P adsorption. Natural bentonite (B25) was thermally treated at 100–1000 °C (B100–B1000) for 2 h. Physical and chemical properties were measured by the SEM, XRD, pore size distribution, EDX, and cation exchange capacity (CEC) methods. Thermal treatment increased P sorption capacity of bentonite and that B800 had a higher P sorption capacity (6.94 mg/g) than B25 (0.237 mg/g) and B400 (0.483 mg/g) using the Langmuir isotherm equation. Study of sorption kinetics indicated that B800 rapidly removed 94% of P from a 10 mg P/L solution and the pseudo-second-order equation fitted the data well. The Ca2+ release capacity of B800 (1.31 mg/g) was significantly higher than that of B25 (0.29 mg/g) and B400 (0.40 mg/g) (p < 0.05). The initial pH level had a smaller impact on P removal efficiency for B800 than that of B25 and B400. Ca-P was the main fraction of P adsorbed onto B800, and Ca10-P was the main species (41.4%). The main factors affecting the phosphorous adsorption capacity of B800 were changed crystal structure, strong calcium release capacity, and improved stability in different pH solutions. The results demonstrated that thermally treated bentonite (B800) has the potential to be an efficient adsorbent for removal of low-concentration phosphorus from wastewater.


Thermal treatment Bentonite Adsorption Phosphate Wastewater 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Key Research Project of Frontier Science of Chinese Academy of Sciences (QYZDJ-SSW-DQC041), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0800104 and 2016YFE0101100), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41771302 and 41701566), the Youth Innovation Team Project of ISA, CAS (2017QNCXTD_LF), and the Key Research and Development Program of Hunan Province (2016JC2032).


  1. Al-Asheh S, Banat F, Abu-Aitah L (2003) Adsorption of phenol using different types of activated bentonites. Sep Purif Technol 33:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aytas S, Yurtlu M, Donat R (2009) Adsorption characteristic of U(VI) ion onto thermally activated bentonite. J Hazard Mater 172:667–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barca C, Gérente C, Meyer D, Chazarenc F, Andrès Y (2012) Phosphate removal from synthetic and real wastewater using steel slags produced in Europe. Water Res 46(7):2376–2384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barca C, Troesch S, Meyer D, Drissen P, Andres Y, Chazarenc F (2013) Steel slag filters to upgrade phosphorus removal in constructed wetlands: two years of field experiments. Environ Sci Technol 47(1):549–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blanco I, Molle P, de Miera LES, Ansola G (2016) Basic oxygen furnace steel slag aggregates for phosphorus treatment. Evaluation of its potential use as a substrate in constructed wetlands. Water Res 89:355–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brigatti MF, Galan E, Theng BKG (2013) Structure and mineralogy of clay minerals. In: Bergaya F, Lagaly G (eds) Handbook of clay science, Part A, 2nd edn. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 21–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen H, Zhao J, Zhong A, Jin Y (2011a) Removal capacity and adsorption mechanism of heat-treated palygorskite clay for methylene blue. Chem Eng J 174(1):143–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen T, Liu H, Li J, Chen D, Chang D, Kong D, Frost RL (2011b) Effect of thermal treatment on adsorption–desorption of ammonia and sulfur dioxide on palygorskite: change of surface acid-alkali properties. Chem Eng J 166:1017–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen X, Zhou W, Pickett STA, Li W, Han L (2016a) Spatial-temporal variations of water quality and its relationship to land use and land cover in Beijing, China. Int J Environ Res Public Health 13:449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen X, Zhou W, Pickett STA, Li W, Han L (2016b) Diatoms are better indicators of urban stream conditions: a case study in Beijing, China. Ecol Indic 60:265–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chorom M, Rengasamy P (1996) Effect of heating on swelling and dispersion of different cationic forms of a smectite. Clay Clay Miner 44:783–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chouyyok W, Wiacek RJ, Pattamakomsan K, Sangvanich T, Grudzien RM, Fryxell GE (2010) Phosphate removal by anion binding on functionalized nanoporous sorbents. Environ Sci Technol 44:3073–3078CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collins CR, Ragnarsdottir KV, Sherman DM (1999) Effect of inorganic and organic ligands on the mechanism of cadmium sorption to goethite. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:2989–3002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elser JJ, Bracken ME, Cleland EE, Gruner DS, Harpole WS, Hillebrand H, Ngai JT, Seabloom EW, Shurin JB, Smith JE (2007) Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 10(12):1135–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Emmerich K (2000) Spontaneous rehydroxylation of a dehydroxylated cis-vacant montmorillonite. Clay Clay Miner 48:405–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gan F, Zhou J, Wang H, Du C, Chen X (2009) Removal of phosphate from aqueous solution by thermally treated natural palygorskite. Water Res 43(11):2907–2915CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gupta SS, Bhattacharyya KG (2014) Adsorption of metal ions by clays and inorganic solids. RSC Adv 4(54):28537–28586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gupta VK, Carrott PJM, Ribeiro Carrott MML, Suhas (2009) Low-cost adsorbents: growing approach to wastewater treatment—a review. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 39(10):783–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kaasik A, Vohla C, Mõtlp R, Mander Ü, Kirsimä K (2008) Hydrated calcareous oil shale ash as potential filter media for phosphorus removal in constructed wetlands. Water Res 42:1315–1323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Karageorgiou K, Paschalis M, Anastassakis GN (2007) Removal of phosphate species from solution by adsorption onto calcite used as natural adsorbent. J Hazard Mater 139:447–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kõiv M, Liira M, Mander Ü, Mõtlep R, Vohla C, Kirsimäe K (2010) Phosphorus removal using Ca-rich hydrated oil shale ash as filter material—the effect of different phosphorus loadings and wastewater compositions. Water Res 44:5232–5239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lin J, Zhan Y, Wang H, Chu M, Wang C, He Y, Wang X (2017) Effect of calcium ion on phosphate adsorption onto hydrous zirconium oxide. Chem Eng J 309:118–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liu F, Zhang S, Luo P, Zhuang X, Chen X, Wu J (2017) Purification and reuse of non-point source wastewater via Myriophyllum-based integrative biotechnology: a review. Bioresour Technol 248:3–11. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu RX, Guo JL, Tang HX (2002) Adsorption of fluoride, phosphate and arsenate ions on a new type of ion exchange fiber. J Colloid Interface Sci 248:268–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Loganathan P, Vigneswaran S, Kandasamy J, Bolan NS (2014) Removal and recovery of phosphate from water using sorption. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 44(8):847–907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Luo P, Liu F, Liu X, Wu X, Yao R, Chen L, Li X, Xiao R, Wu J (2017) Phosphorus removal from lagoon-pretreated swine wastewater by pilot-scale surface flow constructed wetlands planted with Myriophyllum aquaticum. Sci Total Environ 576:490–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ortega LH (2009) Sintered bentonite ceramics for the immobilization of cesium- and strontium-bearing radioactive waste. Texas A&M University, Texas, pp 33–42Google Scholar
  28. Önal M, Sarikaya Y (2007) Thermal behavior of a bentonite. J Therm Anal Calorim 90(1):167–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rentz JA, Turner IP, Ullman JL (2009) Removal of phosphorus from solution using biogenic iron oxides. Water Res 43:2029–2035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sarikaya Y, Önal M, Baran B, Alemdaroğlu T (2000) The effect of thermal treatment on some of the physicochemical properties of a bentonite. Clay Clay Miner 48(5):557–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sengupta S, Pandit A (2011) Selective removal of phosphorus from wastewater combined with its recovery as a solid-phase fertilizer. Water Res 45:3318–3330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Soil Science Society of China (2002) Soil agrochemistry analysis method. China Agricultural Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  33. Stagnaro SYM, Volzone C, Rueda ML (2012) Influence of thermal treatment on bentonite used as adsorbent for Cd, Pb, Zn retention from mono-solute and poly-solute aqueous solutions. Mater Res 15:1–5Google Scholar
  34. Su Y, Cui H, Li Q, Gao SA, Shang JK (2013) Strong adsorption of phosphate by amorphous zirconium oxide nanoparticles. Water Res 47:5018–5026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tămăşan M, Vulpoi A, Vanea E, Simon V (2010) Textural properties of the medical Algo clay as influenced by calcination. Appl Clay Sci 50:418–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tan KH (1996) Soil sampling, preparation and analysis. Marcel Dekker Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Toor M, Jin B (2012) Adsorption characteristics, isotherm, kinetics, and diffusion of modified natural bentonite for removing diazo dye. Chem Eng J 187:79–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tran HN, You SJ, Hosseini-Bandegharaei A, Chao HP (2017) Mistakes and inconsistencies regarding adsorption of contaminants from aqueous solutions: a critical review. Water Res 120:88–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Valsami-Jones E (2001) Mineralogical controls on phosphorus recovery from wastewaters. Mineral Mag 65(5):611–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vimonses V, Lei S, Jin B, Chow C, Saint C (2009) Adsorption of Congo red by three Australian kaolins. Appl Clay Sci 43:465–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vohla C, Kõiv M, Bavor HJ, Chazarenc F, Mander Ü (2011) Filter materials for phosphorus removal from wastewater in treatment wetlands—a review. Ecol Eng 37(1):70–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walter WJ (1984) Evolution of a technology. J Environ Eng 110(5):899–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Weber WJ, Smith EH (1987) Simulation and design models for adsorption processes. Environ Sci Technol 21(11):1040–1050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wei XC, Viadero JRC, Bhojappa S (2008) Phosphorus removal by acid mine drainage sludge from secondary effluents of municipal wastewater treatment plants. Water Res 42:3275–3284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yang S, Zhao Y, Ding D, Wang Y, Feng C, Lei Z, Yang Y, Zhang Z (2013) An electrochemically modified novel tablet porous material developed as adsorbent for phosphate removal from aqueous solution. Chem Eng J 220:367–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ye HP, Chen FZ, Sheng YQ, Sheng GY, Fu JM (2006) Adsorption of phosphate from aqueous solution onto modified palygorskites. Sep Purif Technol 50:283–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yeoman S, Stephenson T, Lester JN, Perry R (1988) The removal of phosphorus during wastewater treatment: a review. Environ Pollut 49:183–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yin H, Han M, Tang W (2016) Phosphorus sorption and supply from eutrophic lake sediment amended with thermally-treated calcium-rich attapulgite and a safety evaluation. Chem Eng J 285:671–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yin H, Yan X, Gu X (2017) Evaluation of thermally-modified calcium-rich attapulgite as a low-cost substrate for rapid phosphorus removal in constructed wetlands. Water Res 115:329–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yin H, Yun Y, Zhang Y, Fan C (2011) Phosphate removal from wastewaters by a naturally occurring, calcium-rich sepiolite. J Hazard Mater 198:362–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhu R, Chen Q, Zhou Q, Xi Y, Zhu J, He H (2016) Adsorbents based on montmorillonite for contaminant removal from water: a review. Appl Clay Sci 123:239–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zhu R, Zhu L, Zhu J, Ge F, Wang T (2009) Sorption of naphthalene and phosphate to the CTMAB-Al13 intercalated bentonites. J Hazard Mater 168:1590–1594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zuo Q, Gao X, Yang J, Zhang P, Chen G, Li Y, Shi K, Wu W (2017) Investigation on the thermal activation of montmorillonite and its application for the removal of U(VI) in aqueous solution. J Taiwan Inst Chem Eng 80:754–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical RegionsInstitute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina
  2. 2.Changsha Research Station for Agricultural & Environmental Monitoring, Institute of Subtropical AgricultureChinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.College of Resource and EnvironmentHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina

Personalised recommendations