Concurrent Transport and Removal of Nitrate, Phosphate and Pesticides in Low-cost Metal- and Carbon-based Materials


Dongli Tong, Jie Zhuang, Jaehoon Lee, John Buchanan, Xijuan Chen


Low-cost magnesium- and/or carbon-based materials have a great potential to remove soluble contaminants from surface and ground water. This study examined mechanisms that control the removal of nitrate, phosphate and pesticides (tricyclazole, malathion and isoprothiolane) during their transport through calcined magnesia (MgO) and corn stalk biochar. Various miscible column breakthrough experiments were carried out and morphology and crystallographic structures of reactive materials were examined. Approximately 96% (78,950 mg-NO3/kg) and 48% (27,455 mg-NO3/kg) of nitrate were removed from biochar and MgO columns, respectively. Chemical adsorption dominated nitrate removal during early phase (i.e., <11 PVs for biochar and <100 PVs for MgO, respectively), and microbial denitrification dominated during the following phase. 92% of the applied phosphate (6168 mg-PO43-/kg) was removed in MgO column, while much less in biochar column (4%, 347 mg-PO43-/kg). Mineral surface analyses confirmed that electrostatic attraction, ligand exchange, and chemical precipitation were responsible for phosphate removal. For the three pesticides, biochar exhibited larger removal capacity (1260-2778 mg/kg) than MgO (28-2193 mg/kg) due to the functional groups on biochar. The removal of pesticides based on their physico-chemical properties. Malathion had highest removal rate (98-100%), attributing to chemical sorption and bio-degradation, followed by isoprothiolane (47-79%) and tricyclazole (6-64%).

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Tong DL, Zhuang J, Lee J, Buchanan J, Chen XJ. 2019. Concurrent transport and removal of nitrate, phosphate and pesticides in low-cost metal- and carbon-based materials. Chemosphere 230:84-91.