Novoveska, L., Winter, J., Ho, F. and Murray, D., Industrial Phycology(free)
Microalgae, if used properly, can treat variety of wastewater effluents in a chemical-free, sustainable and efficient manner. Microalgae consume a range of nutrients (phosphorus & nitrogen) as well as accumulate other pollutants such as heavy metals and other chemicals. Algal biomass generated through this process can then be recovered along with accumulated compounds. The objective of this study was to fully characterize microalgal biomass produced from 4 different wastewater streams and to identify specific markets with commercial interest in such biomass. Industrial Phycology (I-PHYC) obtained wastewaters from 4 effluents (municipal, fruit juice, tin mine, and dairy farm wastewater), water quality was evaluated, and algae were cultivated in these effluents. Accumulated algal biomass was characterized for biochemical composition including elemental and mineral composition, pigments, vitamins, heavy metals and other unwanted compounds. There was a significance difference in biochemical composition of algae grown on different streams. For example, algae grown in dairy farm effluent contained the highest amount of protein, fruit juice algae contained more vitamins than an apple and algae grown in municipal wastewater contained 4% phosphorus by weight. In addition, I-PHYC process removed many key pharmaceutical compounds present in a municipal wastewater. Application of algal biomass will be discussed.