Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 187, Issue 4, pp 1488–1501 | Cite as

Microalgal Cultivation and Nutrient Removal from Digested Piggery Wastewater in a Thin-film Flat Plate Photobioreactor

  • Zhong-liang Sun
  • Li-qin SunEmail author
  • Guo-zhong Chen


This work investigated the cultivation of Chlorella vulgaris in a thin-film flat plate photobioreactor under outdoor conditions and using digested piggery wastewater as the culture medium. The algal cells were able to adapt quickly to the wastewater and outdoor conditions. A specific growth rate of 0.12 day−1 was obtained in the exponential growth phase, which was slightly higher than that during indoor cultivation using artificial culture medium. Results showed that Chlorella vulgaris effectively removed TN, TP, and COD by 72.48%, 86.93%, and 85.94%. Due to the difference in culture conditions and phosphorus availability, the biomass from outdoor cultivation contained higher lipid content and more unsaturated fatty acids compared to indoor cultures, while the amino acid composition was unaffected. Results of metallic element assay indicated that the biomass cultured with wastewater conformed to the standards required for animal feed additive production. The overall cost of the biomass production in the thin-film flat plate photobioreactor (32.94 US$/kg) was estimated to be 4.67 times lower than that of indoor cultivation (154.04 US$/kg). Together, these results provide a basis for large-scale outdoor production of microalgae and wastewater bioremediation.


Chlorella vulgaris Digested piggery wastewater Outdoor cultivation Thin-film flat plate photobioreactor 


Funding Information

This work was financially supported by a grant from the Natural Science Foundation Project Fund of Shandong Province (Grant No. ZR2016BQ45) and an Innovation Team Project for Modern Agricultural Industrial Technology Systems of Shandong Province (Grant No. SDAIT-11-10).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

12010_2018_2889_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 4410 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life SciencesYantai UniversityYantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesLudong UniversityYantaiPeople’s Republic of China

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