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Recent advances in nutrient removal and recovery in biological and bioelectrochemical systems

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173–185
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


Nitrogen and phosphorous are key pollutants in wastewater to be removed and recovered for sustainable development. Traditionally, nitrogen removal is practiced through energy intensive biological nitrification and denitrification entailing a major cost in wastewater treatment. Recent innovations in nitrogen removal aim at reducing energy requirements and recovering ammonium nitrogen. Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) are promising for recovering ammonium nitrogen from nitrogen rich waste streams (urine, digester liquor, swine liquor, and landfill leachate) profitably. Phosphorus is removed from the wastewater in the form of polyphosphate granules by polyphosphate accumulating organisms. Alternatively, phosphorous is removed/recovered as Fe-P or struvite through chemical precipitation (iron or magnesium dosing). In this article, recent advances in nutrients removal from wastewater coupled to recovery are presented by applying a waste biorefinery concept. Potential capabilities of BES in recovering nitrogen and phosphorous are reviewed to spur future investigations towards development of nutrient recovery biotechnologies.


  • Microbial fuel cells, Nitrogen removal, Phosphorus removal, Waste biorefinery, Wastewater

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland