The potential of microalgal biomass production for biotechnological purposes using wastewater resources
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The utilization of microalgae for wastewater treatment represents an attractive opportunity for wastewater valorization through the use of the produced biomass. Five strains of microalgae were isolated from municipal wastewater and grown in autoclaved and non-autoclaved effluent at 30 °C and 150 μmol photons m−2 s−1 to study biomass production, nutrient removal, and the biochemical composition of the biomass. All strains reached high biomass productivity (35.6 to 54.2 mg dry weight L−1 day−1) within 4 days of batch culturing. In this period, ammonium-N and phosphate were reduced by more than 60 and 90 %, respectively. The high growth rate (0.57 to 1.06 day−1) ensured a rapid removal of nutrients and thereby a short retention time. By the fourth day of cultivation, the algal biomass contained 32 % protein, but only 11 % lipids and 18 % carbohydrates. It was found that the biomass was a suitable raw material for biogas production by anaerobic digestion. Biodigestion of obtained biomass was simulated by employing the Aspen HYSYS modeling software, resulting in methane yields comparable to those found in the literature. The elemental analysis of the algal biomass showed very low concentrations of pollutants, demonstrating the potential of use of the digestate from biodigestion as a bio-fertilizer.
KeywordsWastewater treatment Nutrient removal Scenedesmus Desmodesmus Biomass composition Biogas
We are indebted to the Moflo - Unidade multiusuários of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro for making the flow cytometer available to us and to Dr. R. Pulleri for assistance with the nutrient determination techniques. Dr. A.G. Torres is gratefully acknowledged for providing facilities to determination of the biochemical composition of microalgal biomass. We thank Dr. Dgamar Frisch for the manuscript revision. This research received financial support from the Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) through grant E-26/111.973/2012, from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) through grants 404778/2013-5 and 405851/2013-8 and from Fundação Coordenação de Projetos, Pesquisas e Estudos Tecnológicos (Fundação COPPETEC-COPPE/UFRJ). G.S. Diniz was a recipient of a fellowship from the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES).
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