Application of Phosphate Materials as Constructed Wetland Fillers for Efficient Removal of Heavy Metals from Wastewater

Xiaodan Wu, Ni Hong, Qingjing Cen, Jiaxin Lu, Hui Wan, Wei Liu, Hongli Zheng, Roger Ruan, Kirk Cobb, Yuhuan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Constructed wetlands are an environmentally friendly and economically efficient sewage treatment technology. Heavy metals (HMs) removal is always regarded as one of the most important tasks in constructed wetlands, which have aroused increasing concern in the field of contamination control in recent times. The fillers of constructed wetlands play an important role in HMs removal. However, traditional wetland fillers (e.g., zeolite, sand, and gravel) are known to be imperfect because of their low adsorption capacity. Regarding HMs removal, our work involved the selection of prominent absorbents, the evaluation of adsorption stability for various treatments, and then the possibility of applying this HM removal technology to constructed wetlands. For this purpose, several phosphate materials were tested to remove the heavy metals Cu and Zn. Three good phosphates including hydroxyapatite (HAP), calcium phosphate (CP), and physic acid sodium salt hydrate (PAS) demonstrated fast removal efficiency of HMs (Cu 2+, Zn 2+) from aqueous solution. The maximum removal rates of Cu 2+ and Zn 2+ by HAP, CP, and PAS reached 81.6% and 95.8%; 66.9% and 70.4%; 98.8% and 1.99%, respectively. In addition, better adsorption stability of these heavy metals was found to occur with a wide variation of desorption time and pH range. The most remarkable efficiency for heavy metal removal among tested phosphates was PAS, followed by HAP and CP. This study can provide a basis for the application of HMs removal in manmade wetland systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5344
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Open Research Fund Program of State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Food Chain Pollution Control (FC2021YB10), the Youth Talent Training Program for Academic and Technical Leaders of Major Disciplines in Jiangxi Province (20212BCJ23042), the University–Industry Cooperation Collaborative Education Program of the Ministry of Education (202102152021), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22166026, 21878139, and 21878237), the State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Nanchang University (SKLF-ZZB-202122), and the Key Project of Jiangxi Provincial Department of Science and Technology Jiangxi (20181BBF60026).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • adsorption kinetic model
  • adsorption selectivity
  • adsorption stability
  • copper
  • physic acid sodium salt hydrate
  • Phosphates
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis
  • Metals, Heavy/analysis
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid
  • Waste Water
  • Wetlands

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article


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