Commercial silicate phosphate sequestration and desorption leads to a gradual decline of aquatic systems

Karl B.W. Svatos

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8 Citations (Web of Science)


Laboratory desorption behaviour, function and elemental composition of commercially marketed silicate minerals used to sequester phosphorus pollution as well as Zeolite, Smectite, and Kaolinite were determined to see whether their use by environmental scientists and water managers in eutrophic waterways has the potential to contribute to longer-term environmental impacts. As expected, lower phosphorus concentrations were observed, following treatment. However, data relating to desorption, environmental fate and bioavailability of phospho-silicate complexes (especially those containing rare earth elements) appear to be underrepresented in product testing and trial publications. Analysis of desorption of phosphate (P) was > 5 μg[P]/L for all three non-commercial samples and 0 > μg[P]/L > 5 for all commercial silicates for a range of concentrations from 0 to 300 μg[P]/L. Based on a review of bioaccumulation data specific to the endangered Cherax tenuimanus (Hairy Marron) and other endemic species, this is significant considering anything > 20 μg[La]/L is potentially lethal to the hairy marron, other crustaceans and even other phyla. Where prokaryotic and eukaryotic effects are underreported, this represents a significant challenge. Especially where product protocols recommend continual reapplication, this is significant because both the forward and reverse reactions are equally important. The users of silicate minerals in water columns should accept the dynamic nature of the process and pay equal attention to both adsorption and desorption because desorption behaviour is an inherent trait. Even if broader desorption experimentation is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, it is a critical consideration nonetheless.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5386-5392
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


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