Rare earth elements (REE) for the removal and recovery of phosphorus: A review

Anitha Kunhikrishnan, Md Aminur Rahman, Dane Lamb, Nanthi S. Bolan, Surinder Saggar, Aravind Surapaneni, Chengrong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


There is little doubt that ‘rock phosphate’ reserves are decreasing, with phosphorus (P) peak to be reached in the coming decades. Hence, removal and recovery of phosphorus (P) from alternative nutrient-rich waste streams is critical and of great importance owing to its essential role in agricultural productivity. Adsorption technique is efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable for P recovery from waste streams which otherwise can cause eutrophication in receiving waters. As selective P sorption using rare earth elements (REE) are gaining considerable attention, this review extensively focuses on P recovery by utilising a range of REE-incorporated adsorbents. The review briefly provides existing knowledge of P in various waste streams, and examines the chemistry and behaviour of REE in soil and water in detail. The impact of interfering ions on P removal using REE, adsorbent regeneration for reuse, and life cycle assessment of REE are further explored. While it is clear that REE-sorbents have excellent potential to recover P from wastewaters and to be used as fertilisers, there are gaps to be addressed. Future studies should target recovery and reuse of REE as P fertilisers using real wastewaters. More field trials of synthesized REE-sorbents are highly recommended before practical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131661
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Rare earth elements (REE) for the removal and recovery of phosphorus: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this