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Closing domestic nutrient cycles using microalgae

Closing domestic nutrient cycles using microalgae

Fernandes, Tânia Vasconcelos, Shrestha, Rabin, Sui, Yixing ORCID: 0000-0003-2646-5773, Papini, Gustavo, Zeeman, Grietje, Vet, Louise E. M., Wijffels, Rene H. and Lamers, Packo (2015) Closing domestic nutrient cycles using microalgae. Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (20). pp. 12450-12456. ISSN 0013-936X (Print), 1520-5851 (Online) (doi:

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This study demonstrates that microalgaecan effectively recover all P and N from anaerobically treated black water (toilet wastewater). Thus, enabling the removal of nutrients from the black water and the generation of a valuable algae product in one step. Screening experiments with green microalgae and cyanobacteria showed that all tested green microalgae species successfully grew on anaerobically treated black water. In a subsequent controlled experiment in flat-panel photobioreactors, Chlorella sorokiniana was able to remove 100% of the phosphorus and nitrogen from the medium. Phosphorus was depleted within 4 days while nitrogen took 12 days to reach depletion. The phosphorus and nitrogen removal rates during the initial linear growth phase were 17 and 122 mg·L−1·d−1, respectively. After this initial phase, the phosphorus was depleted. The nitrogen removal rate continued to decrease in the second phase, resulting in an overall removal rate of 80 mg·L−1·d−1. The biomass concentration at the end of the experiment was 11.5 g·L−1, with a P content of approximately 1% and a N content of 7.6%. This high algal biomass concentration, together with a relatively short P recovery time, is a promising finding for future post-treatment of black water while gaining valuable algal biomass for further application.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Microalgae, domestic nutrient cycles
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Science (SCI)
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Last Modified: 06 Aug 2021 11:36

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