Improved performance of intensive semicontinuous cultures of Scenedesmus by biomass recirculation

Biotechnology and Bioengineering
J de la Noue, D Ní Eidhin


The microscopic green alga, Scenedesmus obliquus, was used in a semicontinuous culture system for the tertiary treatment of urban wastewater, with the simultaneous production of usable biomass. Partial biomass recycling was used to increase the productivity of the system by overcoming the limits imposed by the low maximal growth rate of the alga. The biomass to be recycled was collected by simple gravity settling of the removed culture.The culture system was operated at different dilution rates and its productivity measured at each rate. An evaluation of the crude nutrient composition of the algae produced at each dilution rate was also carried out.The system was found to operate stably at dilution rates of up to 0.8 day(-1) which represents a 20% net increase over the maximum dilution rate allowed under the same conditions in a system without recirculation. The composition of the biomass produced varied little over a range of dilution rates, which may be of relevance to its projected end-use.The study indicated that such a system can exploit available light to the full and should be of particular value for the treatment of low-strength wastes such as we employed.

Related Concepts

Health Care Systems
Dilution Technique
Laboratory Culture
Acutodesmus obliquus
Tertiary Healthcare

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