Alkaline flocculation of Microcystis aeruginosa induced by calcium and magnesium precipitates

  • Tomáš Potočár
  • João Augusto Vitorino Pereira
  • Irena Brányiková
  • Magdalena Barešová
  • Martin Pivokonský
  • Tomáš BrányikEmail author


The biotechnological potential of Microcystis aeruginosa brings requirements for efficient cultivation and harvesting of biomass. Flocculation of M. aeruginosa at alkaline pH induced by calcium or magnesium precipitates was studied under model conditions, in culture medium with/without cellular organic matter (COM). The effect of independent variables (Ca2+, Mg2+, PO43−, and pH) on the zeta potential and turbidity of cells and inorganic precipitates was quantified by response surface methodology. The experimentally obtained flocculation efficiencies (FEs) were compared with predictions of physicochemical interaction (DLVO) models. The results presented here delimited the concentration ranges of Ca2+, Mg2+, PO43−, and pH, resulting in FE > 85%. The DLVO prediction model suggested that for high FE, positively charged precipitates and sufficient precipitate turbidity were required. At pH 10, alkaline flocculation was more advantageous using magnesium precipitates, since it required less phosphate. High FE with COM was achieved at pH 12 when precipitate formation was induced at a low phosphate concentration by the addition of magnesium hydroxide.


Cyanobacteria Inorganic precipitates Surface interactions DLVO theory 


Funding information

This research was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (project 18-05007S).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomáš Potočár
    • 1
  • João Augusto Vitorino Pereira
    • 1
  • Irena Brányiková
    • 2
  • Magdalena Barešová
    • 3
  • Martin Pivokonský
    • 3
  • Tomáš Brányik
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of Chemistry and Technology PraguePragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Chemical Process FundamentalsThe Czech Academy of SciencesPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Institute of HydrodynamicsThe Czech Academy of SciencesPragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of Chemistry and Technology PraguePragueCzech Republic

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