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Volume 48, Issue 5 p. 1397-1413
Special Section: Celebrating the 350th Anniversary of Discovering Phosphorus—For Better or Worse

Toward a Regional Phosphorus (Re)cycle in the US Midwest

Andrew J. Margenot

Corresponding Author

Andrew J. Margenot

Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

*Corresponding author ([email protected]; [email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
Dianna Kitt

Dianna Kitt

Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Benjamin M. Gramig

Benjamin M. Gramig

Dep. of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Taylor B. Berkshire

Taylor B. Berkshire

Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Neha Chatterjee

Neha Chatterjee

Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Allan J. Hertzberger

Allan J. Hertzberger

Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Sammy Aguiar

Sammy Aguiar

Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Aliza Furneaux

Aliza Furneaux

Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Navneet Sharma

Navneet Sharma

Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

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Roland D. Cusick

Corresponding Author

Roland D. Cusick

Dep. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801

*Corresponding author ([email protected]; [email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
First published: 12 September 2019
Citations: 22

Abstract

Redirecting anthropogenic waste phosphorus (P) flows from receiving water bodies to high P demand agricultural fields requires a resource management approach that integrates biogeochemistry, agronomy, engineering, and economics. In the US Midwest, agricultural reuse of P recovered from spatially colocated waste streams stands to reduce point-source P discharges, meet agricultural P needs, and—depending on the speciation of recovered P—mitigate P losses from agriculture. However, the speciation of P recovered from waste streams via its chemical transformation—referred to here as recovered P (rP) differs markedly based on waste stream composition and recovery method, which can further interact with soil and crop characteristics of agricultural sinks. The solubility of rP presents key tensions between engineered P recovery and agronomic reuse because it defines both the ability to remove organic and inorganic P from aqueous streams and the crop availability of rP. The potential of rP generation and composition differs greatly among animal, municipal, and grain milling waste streams due to the aqueous speciation of P and presence of coprecipitants. Two example rP forms, phytin and struvite, engage in distinct biogeochemical processes on addition to soils that ultimately influence crop uptake and potential losses of rP. These processes also influence the fate of nitrogen (N) embodied in rP. The economics of rP generation and reuse will determine if and which rP are produced. Matching rP species to appropriate agricultural systems is critical to develop sustainable and financially viable regional exchanges of rP from wastewater treatment to agricultural end users.

Core Ideas

  • There is high potential for recovering P (rP) from point sources for agricultural reuse.
  • rP speciation depends on recovery source and method, interacts with soils and crops.
  • Engineering, agronomic, and economic considerations of rP are context-specific.