Recovery of phosphorus rich krill shell biowaste for uranium immobilization: A study of sorption behavior, surface reaction, and phase transformation

Environ Pollut. 2018 Dec;243(Pt A):630-636. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.08.023. Epub 2018 Sep 5.


Increased generation of shrimp shell from exploitation of krill results in emerging biowaste pollution, in addition, uranium pollution has drawn public concern due to the rapid development of nuclear power, uranium mining, and nuclear fuel processing. In this study, krill shells were recovered and used as a potential natural biosorbent for uranium immobilization, thereby enabling both uranium decontamination and krill shell reutilization. Interaction of uranium with krill shell surface and their transformation were investigated by using batch sorption experiments, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Krill shell had high uranium sorption ability. Uranium was transformed into a nano-scale precipitate. The mapping of phosphorus and uranium was related to the nano-scale precipitate, indicating that sorption of uranium was dependent on phosphorus. Surface chemisorption between phosphate in krill shell and uranium as well as the formation of the nano-scale precipitate were interpreted as the mechanism of uranium immobilization. Thus, natural krill shell waste has potential for extensive use as a promising and cost-effective sorbent for uranium immobilization and krill shell reutilization.

Keywords: Chemisorption; Krill shell; Phosphate; Uranium (VI); Waste resource.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Animal Shells / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation*
  • Euphausiacea
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mining
  • Models, Chemical
  • Phosphates
  • Phosphorus / chemistry*
  • Uranium / analysis
  • Uranium / chemistry*


  • Phosphates
  • Phosphorus
  • Uranium