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Harvesting Environmental Microalgal Blooms for Remediation and Resource Recovery: A Laboratory Scale Investigation with Economic and Microbial Community Impact Assessment

1
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
2
Copenhagen Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, C 1871 Frederiksberg, Denmark
3
Link2Energy, 1-3 Bigby Street, Brigg, North Lincolnshire DN20 8EJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 18 December 2017 / Accepted: 23 December 2017 / Published: 29 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microalgal Biotechnology)
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Abstract

A laboratory based microflotation rig termed efficient FLOtation of Algae Technology (eFLOAT) was used to optimise parameters for harvesting microalgal biomass from eutrophic water systems. This was performed for the dual objectives of remediation (nutrient removal) and resource recovery. Preliminary experiments demonstrated that chitosan was more efficient than alum for flocculation of biomass and the presence of bacteria could play a positive role and reduce flocculant application rates under the natural conditions tested. Maximum biomass removal from a hyper-eutrophic water retention pond sample was achieved with 5 mg·L−1 chitosan (90% Chlorophyll a removal). Harvesting at maximum rates showed that after 10 days, the bacterial diversity is significantly increased with reduced cyanobacteria, indicating improved ecosystem functioning. The resource potential within the biomass was characterized by 9.02 μg phosphate, 0.36 mg protein, and 103.7 μg lipid per mg of biomass. Fatty acid methyl ester composition was comparable to pure cultures of microalgae, dominated by C16 and C18 chain lengths with saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Finally, the laboratory data was translated into a full-size and modular eFLOAT system, with estimated costs as a novel eco-technology for efficient algal bloom harvesting. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental microalgae; resource recovery; eutrophication; microflotation; algal bloom environmental microalgae; resource recovery; eutrophication; microflotation; algal bloom
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Pandhal, J.; Choon, W.L.; Kapoore, R.V.; Russo, D.A.; Hanotu, J.; Wilson, I.A.G.; Desai, P.; Bailey, M.; Zimmerman, W.J.; Ferguson, A.S. Harvesting Environmental Microalgal Blooms for Remediation and Resource Recovery: A Laboratory Scale Investigation with Economic and Microbial Community Impact Assessment. Biology 2018, 7, 4.

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