Integrated Microbial and Algal Effluent Treatment (IMAET) Biotechnology for Biomanagement of Liquid Effluent

Ghatnekar, S.D.1, Sharma, S.M.1, Ghatnekar, S.S.2 and Dighe, D.S.2
1Biotechnology Resource Centre, India, 2Independent


Present paper highlights protocol of Integrated Microbial and Algal Effluent Treatment (IMAET)
biotechnology developed by Biotechnology Resource Centre (BRC), Mumbai, India. It has been
successfully implemented for the bio-management of primary and secondary biodegradable
liquid effluents produced by diverse industries such as gelatin, food processing, soybean oil
extraction plants, paper mills, textile units etc. in India. A mathematical model to illustrate costbenefit
ratio, sustainability and environment friendly facet is described.

The liquid effluents under study yielded substantial BOD and COD loads, low pH, high TSS and
TDS contents. The liquid effluents were subjected to treatment by specific enzymes and
microbial consortia. Later, this pretreated effluent (50%) in combination with BRC-SpiruTM
medium was utilized for cultivation of commercially important micro-algae such as Spirulina,
Chlorella etc. Within 15-16 days the final treated water exhibited a significant decrease in COD
by 90.08 ± 0.176%, and BOD by 89.24 ± 0.544%. The final treated discharge was applied for
secondary usages. Bio-safety of the harvested biomass was tested on fish and mice.

Bio-safe, BRC-SpiruTM medium, effluents, enzymes, microbial consortia, gelatin, pro-biotic


Developing countries like India have to embark upon accelerated economic development while
meeting the requirements of environment preservation (Ghatnekar et al. 2010). Industries fulfill
diverse necessities of man however, unwanted effluents are also generated. The advent of
stricter environmental regulations demands a zero discharge industry. Safe disposal of these
effluents projects Herculean task for the concerned industry besides creating financial burden.

Many of the present day wastewater treatment systems are ‘disposal – based linear systems’. In
recent past, bio-remedial technologies for treatment of wastes are looked upon as more
sustainable alternatives. Moreover, time demands a technology that could utilize these effluents
to yield value added marketable products beside recovery of valuable resources mainly water
and nutrients in them. It would indeed be a bonus for the industry in particular and Society in

Since its inception, the Biotechnology Resource Center (BRC), Mumbai, India has contributed
towards uniting the environment and economy by developing innovative, bio-safe waste treatment technologies of global importance (Ghatnekar and Kavian 1992; Ghatnekar et al.
2009b). In its advanced stride, BRC has developed a novel technology called as ‘Integrated
Microbial and Algal Effluent Treatment’ (IMAET) biotechnology that uses microbial technology
coupled with algal mass cultivation as an efficient bio-remedial measures for the treatment of
secondary liquid effluents. BRC has successfully implemented IMAET biotechnology in diverse
industries such as gelatine, food processing, soybean oil extraction plants, paper mills, textile
units etc. in India. In this present paper a mathematical model illustrating the cost-benefit ratio,
sustainability and environment friendly facet of this technology has been described.

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