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Biological recovery of phosphorus from municipal wastewater

Ginige, M.P., Lashkajani, S.S. and Cheng, K.Y. (2013) Biological recovery of phosphorus from municipal wastewater. Microbiology Australia, 34 (4). p. 194.

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Today’s agriculture is largely dependent on phosphorus (P) fertilisers mined from rock. Phosphate rock is a non-renewable resource and reserves that do exist, are under the control of a handful of countries, including China, US and Morocco. Given the fact that agriculture is based on non-renewable P, its consumption would ultimately lead to a depletion of P resources. Hence, P recovery and recycling are of considerable importance to sustain a profitable agricultural industry and to ensure the long-term, equitable use and management of P resources. If a sound recycling strategy could be developed, municipal wastewater could be a source from which Australia could approximately recover 22,000 tons of P annually. Recently, a novel biological strategy based around polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) was developed to concentrate P in municipal wastewater. The cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach to concentrate P in municipal wastewater has enabled the wastewater industry to contribute towards recycling of P. In this communication, we outline this novel biological process and discuss its potential benefits to Australia and to the wastewater industry.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2013 CSIRO
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