Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp 2363–2369 | Cite as

Pre treatment of Duckweed Biomass, Obtained from Wastewater Treatment Ponds, for Biogas Production

  • Gustavo Tonon
  • Bruna Scandolara Magnus
  • Rodrigo A. Mohedano
  • Wanderli R. M. Leite
  • Rejane H. R. da Costa
  • Paulo Belli Filho
Original Paper


Considering the capacity of duckweed to treat wastewater and to produce valuable biomass, the present study aimed to highlight the potential of duckweed biomass harvested from wastewater treatment plant for biogas (methane) production. In this way a pilot system, comprising an anaerobic pretreatment and two duckweed ponds designed in series (10 m2 each), was operated with real domestic sewage. The treatment efficiency was evaluated through the monitoring of conventional physical–chemical water quality variables sach as Temperature, pH, total phosphorus (TP), phosphate (PO4), total nitrogen (TN), ammoniacal nitrogen (\(\text{NH}_{4}^{+}\)–N) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Simultaneously the excess of biomass produced during the treatment was submitted to Biochemical Methane Potential test (BMP) carried out in a multi-batch reactor system. Three pretreatment approaches (fermentative, drying and alkaline) were performed in triplicate to evaluate their influence on methane production. Findings showed that the duckweed ponds removed the organic matter and nutrients from the wastewater (TN = 94%, TP = 92% and COD = 91%). Moreover, the biomass submitted to a fermentative pretreatment returned higher gas production (0.39 Nm³biogas/kgVSfed) compared with the anaerobic digestion (AD) of unpretreated biomass (0.25 Nm³biogas/kgVSfed). These results highlight the potential of duckweed ponds technologies to treat wastewater and produce clean energy simultaneously.


Duckweed ponds Wastewater treatment Nutrient uptake Anaerobic digestion Biogas 



The authors would like to thank the team from the Laboratory of Effluents, the Federal University of Santa Catarina, CNPq, CAPES and the TSGA project.


  1. 1.
    Holm-Nielsen, J.B., Al Seadib, T., Oleskowicz-Popielc, P.: The future of anaerobic digestion and biogas utilization. Bioresour. Technol. 100(22), 5478–5484 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kathijotes, N.: Blue technology the water-energy interrelationship renewable energies and nutrient recovery. Asia Pac. J. Sci. Technol. 21(2) 102–109 (2016)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pastorek, Z., Kára, J., Jevič, P.: Biomass—Renewable Energy Source. FCC Public, Prague 286 (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    GREET, The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use In: Transportation Model GREET 1.8 d.1, developed by Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, released August 26 (2010)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cui, W., Cheng, J.J.: Growing duckweed for biofuel production: a review. Plant Biol. 17(1), 16–23 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Xu, J., Deshusses, M. A.: Fermentation of swine wastewater-derived duckweed for biohydrogen production. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 40(22), 7028–7036 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Verma, R., Suthar, S.: Utility of duckweeds as source of biomass energy: a review. BioEnergy Res. 8, 1589–1597 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mohedano, R.A., Costa, R.H.R., Tavares, F.A., Belli Filho, P.: High nutrient removal rate from swine wastes and protein biomass production by full-scale duckweed ponds. Bioresour. Technol. 112, 98–104 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ge, X., Zhang, N., Phillips, G.C., Xu, J.: Growing Lemna minor in agricultural wastewater and converting the duckweed biomass to ethanol. Bioresour. Technol. 124, 485–488 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mohedano, R.A., Velho, V.F., Costa, R.H.R., Hofmann, S.M., Belli Filho, P.: Nutrient recovery from swine waste and protein biomass production using duckweed ponds (Landoltia punctata): Southern Brazil. Water Sci. Technol. 65(11), 2042–2048 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Zhao, X., Moatesa, G.K., Wellnera, N., Collinsa, S.R.A., Colemanb, M.J., Waldrona, K.W.: Chemical characterisation and analysis of the cell wall polysaccharides of duckweed (Lemna minor). Carbohydr. Polym. 111, 410–418 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ramaraj, R., Unpaprom, Y.: Effect of temperature on the performance of biogas production from duckweed. Chem. Res. J. 1(1), 58–66 (2016)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Henderson, S.L., Triscari, P.A., Reinhold, D.M.: Enhancement of methane production by codigestion of dairy manure with aquatic plant biomass. Biol. Eng. Trans. 5(3), 147–157 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Triscari, P., Henderson, S., Reinhold, D.: Anaerobic digestion of dairy manure combined with duckweed (Lemnaceae). ASABE Annual International Meeting, Reno, Nevada, USA, Paper Number: 095765 (2009)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Weidong, H., Dongxu, Z., Weidong, X.: Anaerobic fermentation of duckweed and swine manure in a plug-flow anaerobic digestion system. Chin J. Environ. Eng. 7, 323–328 (2013)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    APHA, AWWA, WPCF: Standard Methods for analysis of water and wastewater, 21th edn. American Public Health Association, Washington, DC (2005)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Landesman, L., Parker, N.C., Fedler, C.B., Konikoff, M.: Modeling duckweed growth in wastewater treatment systems. Livest. Res. Rural. Devel. 17(6), 1–8 (2005)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hendriks, A. T. W. M., Zeeman, G.: Pretreatments to enhance the digestibility of lignocellulosic biomass. Bioresour. Technol. 100, 10–18 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Garrote, G., Dominguez, H., Parajo, J.C.: Hydrothermal processing of lignocellulosic materials. Eur. J. Wood Wood Prod. 57(3), 191–202 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sreekrishnan, T. R., Kohli, S., Rana, V.: Enhancement of biogas production from solid substrates using different techniques – a review. Bioresour. Technol. 95, 1–10 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Klavina, K., Cinis, A., Zandeckis, A. Experimental study on the effects of air velocity, temperature and depth on low-temperature bed drying of forest biomass residue. Energy Procedia 72, 42–48 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Park, Y. C., Kim, J. S.: Comparison of various alkaline pretreatment methods of lignocellulosic biomass. Energy 47, 31–35 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Angelidaki, I., Alves, M., Bolzonella, D., Borzacconi, L., Campos, J.L., Guwy, A.J., Kalyuzhnyi, S., Jenicek, P., Van Lier, J.B.: Defining the biomethane potential (BMP) of solid organic wastes and energycrops: a proposed protocol for batch assays. Water science and technology. 59(5), 927–934 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Priya, A., Avishek, K., Pathak, G.: Assessing the potentials of Lemna minor in the treatment of domestic wastewater at pilot scale. Environmental Monitoring and Assessmen, 184(7), 4301–4307 (2012)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    El-shafai, S.A., El-gohary, F.A., Nasr, F.A., Van der steen, N.P., Gijzen, H.J.: Nutrient Recovery from domestic wastewater using a UASB-duckweed ponds system. Bioresour. Technol. 98(4), 798–807 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zhao, Y., Fang, Y., Jin, Y., Huang, J., Ma, X., He, K., He, Z., Wang, F., Zhao, H.: Microbial community and removal of nitrogen via the addition of a carrier in a pilot-scale duckweed-based wastewater treatment system. Bioresour. Technol. 179, 549–558 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Adhikari, U., Harrigan, T., Reinhold, D.M.: Use of duckweed-based constructed wetlands for nutrient recovery and pollutant reduction from dairy wastewater. Ecol. Eng. 78, 6–14 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mohedano, R.A., Costa, R.H.R., Hofmann, S.M., Belli Filho, P.: Using full-scale duckweed ponds as the finish stage for swine waste treatment with a focus on organic matter degradation. Water Sci. Technol. 69(10), 2147–2154 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    EUROPEAN UNION. Urban Waste-water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Farrel, J.B.: Duckweed uptake of phosphorus and five pharmaceuticals: microcosm and wastewater lagoon studies. All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library, Logan, Utah (2012)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Öbek, E., Hasar, H.: Role of duckweed (Lemna minor L.) harvesting in biological phosphate removal from secondary treatment effluents. Fresenius Environ. Bull. 11, 27–29 (2012)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Iatrou, E. I., Stasinakis, A.S., Aloupi, M.: Cultivating duckweed Lemna minor in urine and treated domestic wastewater for simultaneous biomass production and removal of nutrients and antimicrobials. Ecol. Eng. 84, 632–639 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hamilton, R., Casasús, A., Rasche, M., Narang, A., Svoronos, S.A., Koopman, B.: Structured Model for Denitrifier Diauxic Growth. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 90(4), 501–508 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Zheng, Y., Zhao, J., Xu, F., Li, Y.: Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass for enhanced biogas production. Prog. Energy Combust. Sci. 42, 35–53 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kesaano, M.: Sustainable management of duckweed biomass grown for nutrient control in municipal wastewaters. All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library, Logan, Utah (2011)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo Tonon
    • 1
  • Bruna Scandolara Magnus
    • 1
  • Rodrigo A. Mohedano
    • 1
  • Wanderli R. M. Leite
    • 1
  • Rejane H. R. da Costa
    • 1
  • Paulo Belli Filho
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sanitary and Environmental EngineeringFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

Personalised recommendations