Cultivation of Microalgae in Media Added of Emergent Pollutants and Effect on Growth, Chemical Composition, and Use of Biomass to Enzymatic Hydrolysis


The objective of this study was to determine the influence of various concentrations of emerging pollutants (EPs) on growth, cell composition, and enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass. The microalgae used were Spirulina platensis LEB-52, Chlorella homosphaera, and Scenedesmus obliquus. The EPs used were paracetamol, diazepam, fluoxetine, acetylsalicylic acid, and caffeine, added to the cultures in concentrations ranging from 1 to 100 mg L−1. The tests were carried out in closed 150-mL Erlenmeyer bioreactors, containing standard medium from each microalga culture. Cell concentrations were determined every 24 h using optical density. Culture continued for 20 days. At the end of the growth, biomass was collected and used to measure carbohydrates, proteins, and enzymatic hydrolysis, to determine possible changes due to the presence of EPs. In general, microalgae resisted concentrations of up to 100 mg L−1 of paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid, and caffeine, 30 mg L−1 of diazepam, and 1 mg L−1 of fluoxetine. S. obliquus was the most resistant strain, followed by C. homosphaera and S. platensis LEB-52 being less resistant. Acetylsalicylic acid and caffeine influenced the content of carbohydrates and proteins in biomass, reaching values ​above 35% of carbohydrates for S. platensis LEB-52 and above 66% of proteins for S. obliquus. There was no influence of EPs in the enzymatic hydrolysis processes. Microalgae showed resistance to EP concentrations, thereby emerging as a promising wastewater bioremediation technology. These high levels of carbohydrates are of great value because they can be used in the production of bioethanol.

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Rempel, A., Nadal Biolchi, G., Farezin Antunes, A.C. et al. Cultivation of Microalgae in Media Added of Emergent Pollutants and Effect on Growth, Chemical Composition, and Use of Biomass to Enzymatic Hydrolysis. Bioenerg. Res. (2020).

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  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Toxicity
  • Saccharification
  • Wastewater
  • Microalgae chemical composition