Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 757-761

First online:

Algal biomass anaerobic biodegradability

  • Bo ShiAffiliated withCorporate Research and Engineering, Kimberly-Clark Corporation Email author 
  • , Pete LortscherAffiliated withCorporate Research and Engineering, Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • , Doris PalferyAffiliated withCorporate Research and Engineering, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

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We conducted a series of biodegradation studies using microalgae (Arthrospira maxima and Nannochloropsis sp.) and macroalgae (Gelidium corneum and Cladophora glomerata) to elucidate algal biodegradability in wastewater sludge under anaerobic conditions. Algal biodegradability was evaluated according to ASTM D5210-92. The results indicate that A. maxima biodegraded to a greater extent (70 %) than Nannochloropsis sp. (40 %). The low level of mineralization for Nannochloropsis sp. is due to the presence of high level of lipids (37 %). For macroalgal samples, red algae fiber pulped from G. corneum biodegraded comparably to cellulose controls. However, C. glomerata biodegradation is about 46 %. A sample compositional analysis revealed that it contained about 24.5 % ash, which is directly accountable for an observed low degree of biodegradation. Algal anaerobic biodegradability is important to facilitate sludge digester design and performance evaluation. It is particularly useful when waste residual materials from algal biofuel processing are used for energy production.


Microalgae Macroalgae Biofuel Biodegradability Anaerobic digestion Waste management