Immobilization of phosphorus in sediments by nano zero-valent iron (nZVI) from the view of mineral composition

Xiaocui Li, Lei Huang, Hongwei Fang, Guojian He, D. Reible, Changhui Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Immobilization of phosphorus (P) in sediments is essential for controlling eutrophication in natural waters. As sediment is a complex assemblages of minerals, it is necessary to explore the intrinsic mechanisms of immobilization from the view of mineral composition. In this study, nano zero-valent iron (nZVI) is used as an example to immobilize P in sediment from Tai Lake and minerals of quartz, hematite, potassium feldspar, illite, montmorillonite, calcite, and kaolin (i.e. the main components of natural sediment), to consider the role of mineral composition on P immobilization). Results show that the immobilization efficiency increases gradually with the increasing amount of adopted nZVI, until a maximum value of about 60% - 80% when 0.03–0.05 g/g of nZVI is added. Particularly, the maximum P immobilization efficiency is the highest for hematite (about 86%) due to the chemical reaction between hematite and P that inhibiting P release, followed by quartz, illite, montmorillonite, and kaolin (about 64% - 72%) which only physically adsorb P. However, the maximum P immobilization efficiency of nZVI is only 31% and 17% for potassium feldspar and calcite, respectively, due to their relatively high pH values that reducing the formation of iron (Fe)-P precipitation and inhibiting P immobilization. Thus, the P immobilization is mainly due to the reaction between nZVI/mineral and P to form Fe–P precipitates, followed by physical adsorption; and the particle size, elemental composition (e.g. the calcium (Ca) in calcite and Fe in hematite) and pH value also affect the P immobilization efficiency. Moreover, based on the P immobilization efficiencies for various minerals, P immobilization in sediments can be reasonably predicted from the mineral composition through methods such as component additivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133695
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Immobilization efficiency
  • Mineral composition
  • Phosphorus
  • Sediment
  • XPS
  • nZVI


Dive into the research topics of 'Immobilization of phosphorus in sediments by nano zero-valent iron (nZVI) from the view of mineral composition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this