Treating anaerobically digested piggery effluent (ADPE) using microalgae in thin layer reactor and raceway pond

  • Mohammadjavad Raeisossadati
  • Ashiwin Vadiveloo
  • Parisa A. Bahri
  • David Parlevliet
  • Navid Reza MoheimaniEmail author


The successful cultivation of microalgae on anaerobically treated wastewaters would not only allow for the bioremediation of the waste stream but also the cost effective production of algal biomass. In this study, the growth and bioremediation ability of a microalgal consortium of Chlorella sp. and Scenedesmus sp. for treating anaerobically digested piggery effluent (ADPE) was assessed and compared using a thin layer reactor (TLR) (0.5-cm depth, 350 L) and a conventional raceway pond (15-cm depth, 1500 L) with an initial ammonium concentration of 110 ± 10 mg N-NH4+ L−1. The ammonium removal rate of microalgae grown in the TLR (19.23 mg N-NH4+ L−1 d−1) was 1.4 times higher than that grown in the raceway pond. The ash-free biomass yield (0.84 g L−1) and the average volumetric biomass productivity (60 mg L−1 d−1) of the algal consortium in the TLR were 2.5 and 2 times higher than that achieved in the raceway pond, respectively. However, considering four times higher culture volume in the raceway pond, the average areal biomass productivity in the raceway pond (4.2 g m−2 s−1) was more than two times higher than the productivity achieved in the TLR (1.9 g m−2 s−1). As a result of this, the areal lipid productivity of the microalgae grown in the raceway pond was also 2.7 times higher than that grown in the TLR. Our results indicated that under the operational conditions evaluated in this study and based on areal biomass productivity, raceway pond performed better than the thin layer reactor for treating ADPE.


Wastewater treatment Anaerobically digested piggery effluent Thin layer reactor Nutrient removal rate Biomass productivity 



Authors appreciate Mr. Chia Lee, Mr. David Juszkiewicz for designing and building the inclined reactor and Mr. Jack Weatherhead for harvesting the raceway pond culture. Authors would also like to thank the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Medina Research Station, for providing anaerobic digestion piggery effluent.

Funding information

This project was partially funded by Pork CRC 4A 107 project.


  1. An J-Y, Sim S-J, Lee JS, Kim BW (2003) Hydrocarbon production from secondarily treated piggery wastewater by the green alga Botryococcus braunii. J Appl Phycol 15:185–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayre J (2013) Microalgae culture to treat piggery anaerobic digestion effluent. Honours Thesis, Murdoch University, Western AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  3. Ayre JM, Moheimani NR, Borowitzka MA (2017) Growth of microalgae on undiluted anaerobic digestate of piggery effluent with high ammonium concentrations. Algal Res 24:218–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bohutskyi P, Liu K, Nasr LK, Byers N, Rosenberg JN, Oyler GA, Betenbaugh MJ, Bouwer EJ (2015) Bioprospecting of microalgae for integrated biomass production and phytoremediation of unsterilized wastewater and anaerobic digestion centrate. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 99:6139–6154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bohutskyi P, Kligerman DC, Byers N, Nasr LK, Cua C, Chow S, Su C, Tang Y, Betenbaugh MJ, Bouwer EJ (2016) Effects of inoculum size, light intensity, and dose of anaerobic digestion centrate on growth and productivity of Chlorella and Scenedesmus microalgae and their poly-culture in primary and secondary wastewater. Algal Res 19:278–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borowitzka MA, Moheimani NR (2013) Open pond culture systems. In: Borowitzka MA, Moheimani NR (eds) Algae for biofuels and energy. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 133–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouterfas R, Belkoura M, Dauta A (2002) Light and temperature effects on the growth rate of three freshwater algae isolated from a eutrophic lake. Hydrobiologia 489:207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buchanan A, Bolton N, Moheimani N, Svoboda I, Grant T, Batten D, Cheng N, Borowitzka MA, Fallowfield H (2013) Algae for energy and feed: a wastewater solution. A review, Pork CRC report Accesed 20 Aug 2018
  9. Cheirsilp B, Torpee S (2012) Enhanced growth and lipid production of microalgae under mixotrophic culture condition: effect of light intensity, glucose concentration and fed-batch cultivation. Bioresour Technol 110:510–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chevalier P, Proulx D, Lessard P, Vincent WF, de la Noüe J (2000) Nitrogen and phosphorus removal by high latitude mat-forming cyanobacteria for potential use in tertiary wastewater treatment. J Appl Phycol 12:105–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. de Godos I, Guzman HO, Soto R, García-Encina PA, Becares E, Muñoz R, Vargas VA (2011) Coagulation/flocculation-based removal of algal–bacterial biomass from piggery wastewater treatment. Bioresour Technol 102:923–927CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delrue F, Álvarez-Díaz P, Fon-Sing S, Fleury G, Sassi J-F (2016) The environmental biorefinery: using microalgae to remediate wastewater, a win-win paradigm. Energies 9:132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diez J, De la Torre A, Cartagena M, Carballo M, Vallejo A, Muñoz M (2001) Evaluation of the application of pig slurry to an experimental crop using agronomic and ecotoxicological approaches. J Environ Qual 30:2165–2172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Doucha J, Livansky K (1995) Novel outdoor thin-layer high density micro-algal culture system: productivity and operational parameters. Algol Stud 106:129–129Google Scholar
  15. Doucha J, Lívanský K (2009) Outdoor open thin-layer microalgal photobioreactor: potential productivity. J Appl Phycol 21:111–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Doucha J, Lívanský K (2014) High density outdoor microalgal culture. In: Bajpai R, Prokop A, Zappi M (eds) Algal Biorefineries. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 147–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. García J, Mujeriego R, Hernández-Mariné M (2000) High rate algal pond operating strategies for urban wastewater nitrogen removal. J Appl Phycol 12:331–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Godos I, Blanco S, García-Encina PA, Becares E, Muñoz R (2009) Long-term operation of high rate algal ponds for the bioremediation of piggery wastewaters at high loading rates. Bioresour Technol 100:4332–4339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ji MK, Abou-Shanab RAI, Hwang JH, Timmes TC, Kim HC, Oh YK, Jeon BH (2013) Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from piggery wastewater effluent using the green microalga Scenedesmus obliquus. J Environ Eng 139:1198–1205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maraseni TN, Maroulis J (2008) Piggery: from environmental pollution to a climate change solution. J Environ Sci Health B 43:358–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moheimani NR (2013) Long-term outdoor growth and lipid productivity of Tetraselmis suecica, Dunaliella tertiolecta and Chlorella sp (Chlorophyta) in bag photobioreactors. J Appl Phycol 25:167–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Moheimani NR (2016) Tetraselmis suecica culture for CO2 bioremediation of untreated flue gas from a coal-fired power station. J Appl Phycol 28:2139–2146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moheimani NR, Borowitzka MA, Isdepsky A, Fon Sing S (2013) Standard methods for measuring growth of algae and their composition. In: Borowitzka MA, Moheimani NR (eds) Algae for biofuels and energy. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 265–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Muñoz R, Guieysse B (2006) Algal-bacterial processes for the treatment of hazardous contaminants: a review. Water Res 40:2799–2815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nwoba EG, Ayre JM, Moheimani NR, Ubi BE, Ogbonna JC (2016) Growth comparison of microalgae in tubular photobioreactor and open pond for treating anaerobic digestion piggery effluent. Algal Res 17:268–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nwoba EG, Moheimani NR, Ubi BE, Ogbonna JC, Vadiveloo A, Pluske JR, Huisman JM (2017) Macroalgae culture to treat anaerobic digestion piggery effluent (ADPE). Bioresour Technol 227:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Park J, Jin H-F, Lim B-R, Park K-Y, Lee K (2010) Ammonia removal from anaerobic digestion effluent of livestock waste using green alga Scenedesmus sp. Bioresour Technol 101:8649–8657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Park JBK, Craggs RJ, Shilton AN (2011) Wastewater treatment high rate algal ponds for biofuel production. Bioresour Technol 102:35–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Raeesossadati MJ, Ahmadzadeh H, McHenry MP, Moheimani NR (2014) CO2 bioremediation by microalgae in photobioreactors: impacts of biomass and CO2 concentrations, light, and temperature. Algal Res 6:78–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Redfield AC (1958) The biological control of chemical factors in the environment. Am Sci 46:230A-221Google Scholar
  31. Richmond A (2004) Biological principles of mass cultivation. In: Richmond A (ed) Handbook of microalgal culture: biotechnology and applied phycology. Blackwell, London, pp 125–177Google Scholar
  32. Stumm W, Morgan JJ (2012) Aquatic chemistry: chemical equilibria and rates in natural waters. John Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Suresh B, Ravishankar GA (2004) Phytoremediation—a novel and promising approach for environmental clean-up. Crit Rev Biotechnol 24:97–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tucker R, McGahan E, Galloway J, O’Keefe M (2010) National environmental guidelines for piggeries. Canberra, Australian Pork LtdGoogle Scholar
  35. Vadiveloo A, Moheimani NR, Cosgrove JJ, Parlevliet D, Bahri PA (2017) Effects of different light spectra on the growth, productivity and photosynthesis of two acclimated strains of Nannochloropsis sp. J Appl Phycol 29:1765–1774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang H, Xiong H, Hui Z, Zeng X (2012) Mixotrophic cultivation of Chlorella pyrenoidosa with diluted primary piggery wastewater to produce lipids. Bioresour Technol 104:215–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Woertz I, Feffer A, Lundquist T, Nelson Y (2009) Algae grown on dairy and municipal wastewater for simultaneous nutrient removal and lipid production for biofuel feedstock. J Environ Eng 135:1115–1122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zimmo OR, van der Steen NP, Gijzen HJ (2003) Comparison of ammonia volatilisation rates in algae and duckweed-based waste stabilisation ponds treating domestic wastewater. Water Res 37:4587–4594CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammadjavad Raeisossadati
    • 1
  • Ashiwin Vadiveloo
    • 1
  • Parisa A. Bahri
    • 2
  • David Parlevliet
    • 2
  • Navid Reza Moheimani
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Algae R&D Centre, School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Information TechnologyMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems, Harry Butler InstituteMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia

Personalised recommendations