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Impact of Nutrient Availability on Tertiary Wastewater Treatment by Chlorella vulgaris

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Algae can use excessive nutrients from wastewater effluent to generate beneficial products such as biofuels. However, fluctuation of wastewater characteristics could hinder the implementation of tertiary algal treatment. This study aims to identify the impact of nutrient availability on Chlorella vulgaris's ability to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater, and its potential as a biofuel feedstock. Experiments using synthetic wastewater with varying concentrations of nitrate and phosphate showed C. vulgaris continued to remove either nutrient when the other was exhausted. Nitrogen starvation led the algae to accumulate the highest amount of neutral lipid; however, the exhaustion of phosphorus did not produce such impact. Synergistic effect was also observed between C. vulgaris and indigenous microorganisms in nutrient removal from real wastewater effluent. The results showed C. vulgaris can survive in a range of nutrient-limiting conditions, making tertiary algal treatment applicable following various secondary treatment regimes.
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Keywords: Chlorella vulgaris; indigenous microorganisms; lipid production; nutrient removal; tertiary wastewater treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2018

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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