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Nutrient management via struvite precipitation and recovery from various agroindustrial wastewaters: Process feasibility and struvite quality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Improving environmental protection and finding sustainable and renewable resources of nutrients are core issues in circular bioeconomy. Thus, this study evaluated the efficiency of recovering struvite, MgNH4PO4·6H2O, from different agro-industrial wastewaters (four highly loaded reject waters of anaerobically co-digested agro-industrial waste and a raw swine slurry) and assessed the quality of recovered struvite crystals and their reusability as fertilizer. The efficiency of crystallization (Ec 40–80%) and amount of struvite in the precipitate (Pp 55–94%) highly varied due to the characteristics of influent wastewaters, particularly to the content of competing elements, such as alkaline and heavy metals and total solids (TS). In particular, Ec (94, 75, 61%) and Pp (76, 66, 48%) decreased at increasing TS (0.57, 0.73, 0.99%), demonstrating the hindering effect of solid content on struvite recovery and quality. According to X-ray diffraction analysis, the structure of all isolated samples corresponded to crystalline, orthorhombic struvite, which exhibited high purity (32–48 g/kgd N, 114–132 g/kgd P, and 99–116 g/kgd Mg) containing only a few foreign elements, whose amount depended on the characteristics of the influent wastewater. All struvite contained other plant macronutrients (K, Ca) and many micronutrients (Fe, Na, Cu, Mn, Co, Zn) that further enhance its agronomic value. Therefore, this study showed that struvite can be successfully recovered from a wide range of highly loaded agroindustrial wastewaters, and that the quality of the recovered struvite could be suitable for reuse in agriculture.


  • Crystalline purity, Heavy metals, Nutrient recycling, Solid content, Sustainable fertilizer

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland