Enhanced nitrate-nitrogen removal by modified attapulgite-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron treating simulated groundwater

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Attapulgite (or palygorskite) is a magnesium aluminium phyllosilicate. Modified attapulgite-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI) was created by a liquid-phase reduction method and then applied for nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) removal (transformation) in simulated groundwater. Nanoscale zero-valent iron was sufficiently dispersed on the surface of thermally modified attapulgite. The NO3-N removal efficiency reached up to approximately 83.8% with an initial pH values of 7.0. The corresponding thermally modified attapulgite-supported nanoscale zero-valent iron (TATP-NZVI) and NO3-N concentrations were 2.0 g/L and 20 mg/L respectively. Moreover, 72.1% of the water column NO3-N was converted to ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N) within 6 h. The influence of environmental boundary conditions including dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, light illumination and water temperature on NO3-N removal was also investigated with batch experiments. The results indicated that the DO concentration greatly impacted on NO3-N removal in the TATP-NZVI-contained solution, and the NO3-N removal efficiencies were 58.5% and 83.3% with the corresponding DO concentrations of 9.0 and 0.3 mg/L after 6 h of treatment, respectively. Compared to DO concentrations, no significant (p > 0.05) effect of light illumination on NO3-N removal and NH4-N generation was detected. The water temperature also has great importance concerning NO3-N reduction, and the removal efficiency of NO3-N at 25 °C was 1.25 times than that at 15 °C. For groundwater, therefore, environmental factors such as water temperature, anaerobic conditions and darkness could influence the NO3-N removal efficiency when TATP-NZVI is present. This study also demonstrated that TATP-NZVI has the potential to be developed as a suitable material for direct remediation of NO3-N-contaminated groundwater.


  • Lei Dong
  • Li Lin
  • Qingyun Li
  • Zhuo Huang
  • Xianqiang Tang
  • Min Wu
  • Chao Li
  • Xiaohuan Cao
  • Miklas Scholz
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Salford
  • University of Johannesburg
  • Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute
  • Hubei Province Key Lab of Basin Water Resource and Eco-Environmental Science, CRSRI

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Havs- och vattendragsteknik


Sidor (från-till)151-158
Antal sidor8
TidskriftJournal of Environmental Management
StatusPublished - 2018 maj 1
Peer review utfördJa