Dissolved Organic Phosphorus Removal in Secondary Effluent by Ferrate (VI): Performance and Mechanism

Lei Zheng, Panpan Gao, Yali Song, Hua Wang, Yang Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP), which is recalcitrant in municipal wastewater treatment, accounts for 26–81% of dissolved total phosphorus in the effluent. More importantly, the majority of DOP could be bioavailable, potentially threatening the aquatic environment through eutrophication. This study aimed to develop a ferrate (VI)-based advanced treatment to effectively destruct and remove DOP from secondary effluent and use deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and adenosine-5’-triphosphate (ATP) as DOP model compounds to explore the relevant mechanisms. The results showed that ferrate (VI) treatment could efficiently destruct and remove 75% of the DOP in secondary effluent from an activated sludge-adopted municipal wastewater treatment plant, under normal operating conditions. Moreover, the coexistence of nitrate, ammonia, and alkalinity barely affected the effectiveness, while the presence of phosphate significantly inhibited DOP removal. The mechanistic study revealed that ferrate (VI)-induced particle adsorption was the dominant way to achieve DOP reduction, rather than oxidating DOP to phosphate and forming precipitation afterward. Meanwhile, DOP molecules could be effectively decomposed into smaller ones by ferrate (VI) oxidation. This study clearly demonstrated that ferrate (VI) treatment could achieve a promising DOP removal from secondary effluent for mitigating the risk of eutrophication in receiving water bodies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2849
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • adsorption
  • dissolved organic phosphorus
  • ferrate (VI)
  • municipal wastewater
  • secondary effluent


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