PMID: 15093018Apr 20, 2004Paper

Effect of immobilized microalgal bead concentrations on wastewater nutrient removal

Environmental Pollution
N F Y Tam, Y S Wong


A unicellular green microalga, Chlorella vulgaris, entrapped in calcium alginate as algal beads were employed to remove nutrients (N and P) from simulated settled domestic wastewater. A significantly higher nutrient reduction was found in bioreactors containing algal beads (at concentrations ranging from 4 to 20 beads ml(-1) wastewater) than the blank alginate beads (without algae). A complete removal of NH(4)(+)-N and around 95% reduction of PO(4)(3-)-P was achieved within 24 h of treatment in bioreactors having the optimal algal bead concentration (12 beads ml(-1), equivalent to 1:3 algal beads:wastewater, v/v). The NH(4)(+)-N removal was significantly lower at low (around 4 beads ml(-1)) and high (>15 beads ml(-1)) algal bead concentrations. On the other hand, the effect of bead concentration on phosphate removal was less obvious, and bead concentrations ranging from 8 to 20 beads ml(-1) showed comparable percentages of phosphate reduction. Algal uptake and adsorption on alginate gels were found to be the major processes involved in the removal of N and phosphate in the present study. In addition, NH(4)(+)-N could be lost via ammonia volatilization while PO(4)(3-)-P was removed by chemical precipitation, as alkaline pH was r...Continue Reading


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