Discover the Editor's Choice: From each issue of the leading journal, Water Science & Technology, a member of the Editorial Board selects one outstanding paper to share across IWA Publishing platforms.  

IWA Publishing is pleased to announce that the 60th Editor's Choice Paper, chosen by Dr. Diana Catalina Rodriguez Loaiza, is:

The determination of fertiliser quality of the formed struvite from a WWTP

C. González; B. Fernández; F. Molina; M. A. Camargo-Valero; C. Peláez

Why was this paper chosen?

Phosphorus (P) and Nitrogen (N) are critical nutrients for crop growth and agronomic productivity; both nutrients are essential for life. However, P is a finite natural substance from phosphate rock predicted to be short supply within 100 to 150 years. Additionally, the uncontrolled release of nutrients into water bodies produces adverse effects on the environment. Therefore, a recent change of paradigm conceives wastewater as a valuable resource to recover energy and nutrients, mainly N and P. A technique that has attracted attention in recent years is struvite crystallization.

González et al. proposed to evaluate the potential as a fertilizer of the struvite obtained from the supernatant of dewatered sewage sludge (centrate) of a WWTP. The crystals were obtained from two types of reactors (CSTR and FBR), and their agronomic efficiency was compared with the dried digestate sludge (biosolid) obtained from the same WWTP and two common commercial fertilizers (urea and Triple 15). The apparent recovery efficiency, nutrient (N or P) uptake, total nutrient loss, and nutrient loss rates determined in fertilization trials and leaching tests were used to compare all fertilizers tested.

The struvite obtained from a WWTP proved to be a good alternative as fertilizer due to its low content of heavy metals, the absence of the Enterobacteriaceae family, and the high P and N uptakes, showing greater efficiencies in the grass absorption of N and P than the biosolid or the commercial fertilizers evaluated. In addition, P from struvite and biosolid was released slightly slower than that coming from commercial T15, but the N release was faster in struvite treatment due to small particle sizes.

The impact of this paper on the scientific community is directed towards the recovery of products. Fundamental strategy in the management of environmental processes. I hope that readers of this issue of Water Science & Technology journal enjoy and find optimal tools for future research.

Dr. Diana Catalina Rodriguez Loaiza, Editor

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