Special Issue "Nutrient Recovery from Wastewaters Using Microalgae-Based Systems and Potential Applications of the Produced Biomass"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Wastewater Treatment and Reuse".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022 | Viewed by 2289

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Christina N. Economou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Rio, GR-26504 Patras, Greece
Interests: cyanobacteria-based microbial consortia; microalgae; wastewater treatment; nutrient removal; bioactive compounds

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wastewater treatment using microalgae (including cyanobacteria)-based systems is currently a promising alternative to conventional biological treatment processes such as activated sludge. Microalgae-based wastewater treatment has gained significant research momentum as it can achieve high removal rates of both organic and inorganic nutrients. Additionally, biomass produced from the treatment process can be used to generate microalgae-based products (e.g., biofuels, biofertilizers, bioplastics, etc.) according to circular economy principles. As the physicochemical characteristics of wastewaters and photobioreactor operating conditions affect biomass growth rates, current research is still facing challenges to optimize these bioprocesses and achieve maximum nutrient recovery from different wastewater types thus making microalgae-based treatment systems sustainable at industrial scale.

This Special Issue aims to present the latest achievements and trends in research within the fields of wastewater treatment using microalgae (including cyanobacteria) as monoculture or microalgae-based microbial consortia and the exploitation of the biomass generated by these systems. This Special Issue will also bring together technologies for the appropriate design and operation of photobioreactors leading to maximum biomass production and nutrient removal from wastewaters.   

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following topics: wastewater bioremediation, biomass utilization, bioactive products, photobioreactor design and operation.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Christina N. Economou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • wastewater treatment
  • microalgae-bacteria consortia
  • microalgae
  • cyanobacteria
  • biomass characterization
  • microalgae-based products
  • photobioreactors
  • operating parameters
  • nutrient removal

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Cultivation of Arthrospira platensis in Brewery Wastewater
Water 2022, 14(10), 1547; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14101547 - 12 May 2022
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Abstract
Cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms in wastewater is a potential cost-effective method of treating wastewater and simultaneously providing the essential nutrients for high-value biomass production. This study investigates the cultivation of the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis in non-diluted and non-pretreated brewery wastewater under non-sterile and [...] Read more.
Cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms in wastewater is a potential cost-effective method of treating wastewater and simultaneously providing the essential nutrients for high-value biomass production. This study investigates the cultivation of the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis in non-diluted and non-pretreated brewery wastewater under non-sterile and alkaline growth conditions. The system’s performance in terms of biomass productivity, pollutant consumption, pigment production and biomass composition was evaluated under different media formulations (i.e., addition of sodium chloride and/or bicarbonate) and different irradiation conditions (i.e., continuous illumination and 16:8 light:dark photoperiod). It was observed that the combination of sodium bicarbonate with sodium chloride resulted in maximum pigment production recorded at the end of the experiments, and the use of the photoperiod led to increased pollutant removal (up to 90% of initial concentrations) and biomass concentration (950 mg/L). The composition of the microbial communities established during the experiments was also determined. It was observed that heterotrophic bacteria dominated by the phyla of Pseudomonadota, Bacillota, and Bacteroidota prevailed, while the cyanobacteria population showcased a dynamic behavior throughout the experiments, as it increased towards the end of cultivation (relative abundance of 10% and 30% under continuous illumination and photoperiod application, respectively). Overall, Arthrospira platensis-based cultivation proved to be an effective method of brewery wastewater treatment, although the large numbers of heterotrophic bacteria limit the usage of the produced biomass to applications such as biofuel and biofertilizer production. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Trophic Modes on Biomass and Lipid Production of Five Microalgal Strains
Water 2022, 14(2), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020240 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 629
Abstract
Five microalgae strains, namely Isochrysis galbana, Microchloropsis gaditana, Scenedesmus obliquus, Nannochloropsis oculata and Tetraselmis suecica, were selected as potential candidates for polyunsaturated fatty acids’ production, evaluating biomass productivity and their capacity to accumulate high lipid contents under different trophic [...] Read more.
Five microalgae strains, namely Isochrysis galbana, Microchloropsis gaditana, Scenedesmus obliquus, Nannochloropsis oculata and Tetraselmis suecica, were selected as potential candidates for polyunsaturated fatty acids’ production, evaluating biomass productivity and their capacity to accumulate high lipid contents under different trophic modes. Microalgae strains were cultivated in the presence of 1% glucose using mixotrophic and heterotrophic conditions, while autotrophic cultures served as control experiments. The results demonstrate that S. obliquus performed the highest biomass productivity that reached 0.13 and 0.14 g L−1 d−1 under mixotrophic and heterotrophic conditions, respectively. I. galbana and S. obliquus utilized elevated contents of glucose in mixotrophy, removing 55.9% and 95.6% of the initial concentration of the carbohydrate, respectively, while glucose consumption by the aforementioned strains also remained high under heterotrophic cultivation. The production of lipids was maximal for I. galbana in mixotrophy and S. obliquus in heterotrophy, performing lipid productivities of 24.85 and 22.77 mg L−1 d−1, respectively. The most abundant saturated acid detected for all microalgae strains evaluated was palmitic acid (C16:0), while oleic and linolenic acids (C18:1n9c/C18:3n3) comprised the most abundant unsaturated fatty acids. I. galbana performed the highest linoleic acid (C18:2n6c) content under heterotrophic nutrition, which reached 87.9 mg g−1 of ash-free dry weight. Among the microalgae strains compared, the biomass and lipid production monitored for I. galbana and S. obliquus confirm that both strains could serve as efficient bioproducers for application in algal biorefineries. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Nutrients Recovery Capacity and Biomass Growth of Four Microalgae Species in Anaerobic Digestion Effluent
Water 2022, 14(2), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020221 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 595
Abstract
Four microalgae species were evaluated for their bioremediation capacity of anaerobic digestion effluent (ADE) rich in ammonium nitrogen, derived from a biogas plant. Chlorella vulgaris, Chlorella sorokiniana, Desmodesmus communis and Stichococcus sp. were examined for their nutrient assimilation efficiency, biomass production and [...] Read more.
Four microalgae species were evaluated for their bioremediation capacity of anaerobic digestion effluent (ADE) rich in ammonium nitrogen, derived from a biogas plant. Chlorella vulgaris, Chlorella sorokiniana, Desmodesmus communis and Stichococcus sp. were examined for their nutrient assimilation efficiency, biomass production and composition through their cultivation in 3.7% v/v ADE; their performance was compared with standard cultivation media which consisted in different nitrogen sources, i.e., BG-11NO3 and BG-11ΝH4 where N-NO3 was replaced by N-NH4. The results justified ammonium as the most preferable source of nitrogen for microalgae growth. Although Stichococcus sp. outperformed the other 3 species in N-NH4 removal efficiency both in BG-11NH4 and in 3.7% ADE (reaching up to 90.79% and 69.69% respectively), it exhibited a moderate biomass production when it was cultivated in diluted ADE corresponding to 0.59 g/L, compared to 0.89 g/L recorded by C. vulgaris and 0.7 g/L by C. sorokiniana and D. communis. Phosphorus contained in the effluent and in the control media was successfully consumed by all of the species, although its removal rate was found to be affected by the type of nitrogen source used and the particular microalgae species. The use of ADE as cultivation medium resulted in a significant increase in carbohydrates content in all investigated species. Full article
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