Pedosphere 24(6): 808--816, 2014
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2014 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Comparison of phosphorus sorption by light-weight aggregates produced in the United States
1Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (USA)
2U.S. Army, Fort Hood, TX 76544 (USA)
      In this study, phosphorus (P) sorption of thirteen light-weight aggregates (LWAs) from USA was compared during batch equilibrium experiments in order to identify those materials which had the highest P sorption capacity for further study. Seven different levels of sorption activity were observed, which were broadly grouped into three categories—high performing, middle performing, and low performing aggregates. Chemical analysis of Ca, Al, Fe, and Mg was used to describe the differences between LWAs. There was a significant correlation between cation (especially Al, Ca, Fe, and Mg) content and P sorbed. Langmuir isotherms were used to describe P sorption maximum and binding affinity for four of the top five performing LWAs, Universal, Stalite “D”, Stalite “Mix”, and TXI. The fifth aggregate, Lehigh, exhibited more complex sorption, and was better described by the Freundlich isotherm. Universal had a mean P sorption at the highest concentration of 824 mg kg-1, well above its calculated sorption maximum (702 mg kg-1), and also had the highest binding affinity (1.1 L mg-1). This experiment suggests that the top performing LWA (Universal) may perform poorly in column and field studies due to observed precipitates, which could degrade constructed wetland performance. Other LWAs may exhibit superior field performance due to their high calculated sorption maxima. In general, these results highlight the importance of batch experiments as a first step in identifying materials suitable for column and field experiments.
Key Words:  binding affinity, constructed wetlands, equilibrium P concentration, media, P sorption capacity
Citation: Baker, M. D., Simkins, S., Spokas, L. A., Veneman, L. M. and Xing, B. S. 2014. Comparison of phosphorus sorption by light-weight aggregates produced in the United States. Pedosphere. 24(6): 808-816.
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