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Releasing Phosphorus from Calcium for Struvite Fertilizer Production from Anaerobically Digested Dairy Effluent

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Being a non-renewable resource and a source of potential water pollution, phosphorus could be recovered from animal manure in the form of struvite (MgNH4PO4·6H2O) to be used as a slow-release fertilizer. It was found recently that the majority of phosphorus in anaerobically digested dairy effluent is tied up in a fine suspended calcium-phosphate solid, thus becoming unavailable for struvite formation. Acidification and use of a chelating agent were investigated for converting the calcium-associated phosphorus in the digested effluent to dissolved phosphate ions, so that struvite can be produced. The results demonstrated that the phosphorus in the effluent was released into the solution by lowering the pH. In addition, the phosphorus concentration in the solution increased significantly with increased ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) concentration, as EDTA has a high stability constant with calcium. Most of the phosphorus (91%) was released into the solution after adding EDTA. Further, the freed phosphorus ion precipitated out as struvite provided that sufficient magnesium ions (Mg2+) were present in the solution. Furthermore, the phase structure of the solid precipitate obtained from the EDTA treatment matched well with standard struvite, based on the data from X-ray diffraction analysis. These results provide methods for altering the forms of phosphorus for the design and application of phosphorus-removal technologies for dairy wastewater management.

Keywords: anaerobic digestion; calcium; dairy effluent; ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; phosphorus; struvite; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143009X425924

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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