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Removal and Recovery of Phosphate from Water Bodies and Reuse as a Fertilizer

Scientists at NDSU have developed biodegradable iron-containing alginate beads that remove phosphorus from water and can then be beneficially reused to provide Phosphate fertilization. As a result this dual-use technology can be used to clean water bodies that are eutrophic due to excess phosphorous then use the phosphorous for fertilization in agricultural nursery and greenhouse settings where phosphorus is a limiting nutrient. Applications: 1) Treatment of eutrophic water bodies 2) Industry effluent wastewater treatment and treatment of feedlot ponds and runoff


1) Phosphorus removal is effective at concentrations as low as 10-100 μg/L (30 μg/L is considered eutrophic)2) Beads can be placed in porous containers and suspended from the surface so they stay in the zone of highest phosphorus concentration3) Readily manufactured at commercial scale using standard processes4) Works well from pH 4 to pH 9 so may be applied across a range of locations and applications 5) Formulations suitable for standing slow-moving or rapidly moving water6) Environmentally-friendly materials – alginate biopolymer iron and phosphorus are all suitable for placement in water (in the case of the pristine beads) and application to land (after absorbing phosphorus)

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