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Kinetic exploration of nitrate-accumulating microalgae for nutrient recovery
Coppens, J.; Decostere, B.; Van Hulle, S.; Nopens, I.; Vlaeminck, S.E.; De Gelder, L.; Boon, N. (2014). Kinetic exploration of nitrate-accumulating microalgae for nutrient recovery. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 98(19): 8377-8387.
In: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0175-7598; e-ISSN 1432-0614, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Microalgae; Nitrogen recovery; Nutrient removal; Kinetics; Modeling;Wastewater

Authors  Top 
  • Vlaeminck, S.E., more
  • De Gelder, L.
  • Boon, N., more

    Within sustainable resource management, the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients from waste streams is becoming increasingly important. Although the use of microalgae has been described extensively in environmental biotechnology, the potential of nitrate-accumulating microalgae for nutrient recovery has not been investigated yet. The ability of these marine microorganisms to concentrate environmental nitrate within their biomass is remarkable. The aim of this study was to investigate the application potential of nitrate-accumulating diatoms for nutrient recovery from marine wastewaters. The intracellular nitrate storage capacity was quantified for six marine diatom strains in synthetic wastewater. Amphora coffeaeformis and Phaeodactylum tricornutum stored the highest amount of nitrate with respectively 3.15 and 2.10 g N L-1 of cell volume, which accounted for 17.3 and 4.6 %, respectively, of the total nitrogen content. The growth and nitrate and phosphate uptake of both diatoms were further analyzed and based on these features P. tricornutum showed the highest potential for nutrient recovery. A mathematical model was developed which included intracellular nitrate storage and the kinetic parameters were derived for P. tricornutum. Furthermore, a simulation study was performed to compare the performance of a proposed microalgal nutrient recovery unit with a conventional denitrification system for marine wastewater treatment. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential application of P. tricornutum for saline wastewater treatment with concurrent nitrogen and phosphorus recycling.

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