The aim of the study was to explore the possibility of bioremediation of oil refinery wastewaters by the cyanobacterium Synechococcus
sp. MK568070, isolated from the Adriatic Sea. The potential of biomass and lipid production was explored upon cultivation on oil refinery wastewater with excess CO2
after the removal of nutrients. The strain grew well in a wide range of salinities and ammonium concentrations, and was further tested on the wastewater from local oil refinery plant of various N-composition. Growth experiment under optimized conditions was used to analyze the lipid, carbohydrate and protein dynamics. The biomass yield was highly dependent on nutrient source and concentration, salinity and CO2
addition. Highest biomass yield was 767 mg/L of dry weight. Towards the end of the experiment the decline in carbohydrate to 18.9% is visible, whereas at the same point lipids, in particular saturated fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), started to accumulate within the cells. The content of lipids at the end of the experiment was 21.4%, with the unsaturation index 0.45 providing good biofuel feedstock characteristics. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analysis demonstrated a high degree of lipid accumulation in respect to proteins, along with the structural changes and biomass accumulation. In addition, the N-removal from the wastewater was >99% efficient. The potential of lipid accumulation, due to the functional photosynthesis even at the minimal cell quota of nutrients, is critical for the usage of excess industrial CO2
and its industrial transformation to biodiesel. These findings enable further considerations of Synechococcus
sp. (MK568070) for the industrial scale biomass production and wastewater remediation.
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