Utilization of iron sulfides for wastewater treatment: A critical review

Yan Yang, Tianhu Chen, Sumona Mukherjee, Bhaskar Sen Gupta, Yubin Sun, Zhenhu Hu, Xinmin Zhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Acid mine drainage due to weathering of iron sulfide minerals is one of the biggest global environmental issues. However, due to the unique physicochemical properties of natural and synthesized iron sulfides (i.e. pyrite, pyrrhotite, and mackinawite), they can be effectively used for wastewater treatment. These properties, such as ≡SH functional groups as Lewis bases, reducibility of surface Fe and S species, dissolved Fe2+ as a catalyst, and dissolved S2− as an electron donor, are extensively reviewed in this article. The target water pollutants include toxic metals (i.e. lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium) and metalloid (i.e. arsenic), radionuclides (i.e. uranium and selenium), organic contaminants (i.e. chlorinated organic pollutants, benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), and nutrients (i.e. nitrogen and phosphorus). The dominant interaction mechanisms between iron sulfides and these contaminants, and the removal efficiencies are elucidated. This article focuses on the role of iron sulfides as functional materials for wastewater treatment. A recent development of nanostructured pyrrhotite with a high specific surface area for wastewater treatment is also highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289–308
Number of pages20
JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology
Issue number2
Early online date29 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


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