Phosphorus pollution control using waste-based adsorbents: Material synthesis, modification, and sustainability

Hongxu Zhou, Andrew J. Margenot, Yunkai Li, Buchun Si, Tengfei Wang, Yanyan Zhang, Shiyang Li, Rabin Bhattarai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The utilization of waste materials to control phosphorus (P) pollution has been intensively studied as a promising strategy to achieve sustainable wastewater treatment. Although many methods are proposed and investigated to develop modified waste-based adsorbents, a core yet still-debated issue is their effectiveness and viability in real-world applications. Therefore, this critical review summarizes the current research state on the use of waste materials and their modified forms as adsorbents for dissolved reactive P removal from wastewater. Various performance improvement methods are compiled into the research outcomes to highlight three significant efforts that scientists have contributed to promoting the application of waste-based adsorbents: (i) how to enhance the P removal efficiency; (ii) how to scale up implementation; and (iii) how to achieve sustainable management. Furthermore, this review proposes a paradigm of waste-based absorbent in the P removal process to systematically formulate a complete sustainable management strategy for practical application. Overall, this review offers a guide for the development and application of waste-based adsorbents for P removal from wastewater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2023-2059
Number of pages37
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2022


  • Development and application
  • phosphorus removal
  • sustainable management
  • waste-based adsorbents
  • wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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