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Cultivating duckweed Lemna minor in urine and treated domestic wastewater for simultaneous biomass production and removal of nutrients and antimicrobials

Iatrou, Evangelia I., Stasinakis, Athanasios S., Aloupi, Maria
Ecological engineering 2015 v.84 pp. 632-639
Lemna minor, biodegradation, biomass production, chemical oxygen demand, ciprofloxacin, crude protein, harvesting, humans, municipal wastewater, nitrogen content, nutrients, phosphorus, photolysis, starch, sulfamethoxazole, temperature, urine
Duckweed Lemna minor was cultivated in human urine (HU) and the effect of urine type, dilution factor, temperature, existence of macro- and microelements on growth rate was investigated. The simultaneous removal of nutrients and selected antimicrobials was also studied in experiments with HU and treated domestic wastewater, while the starch and protein content of biomass was determined. Higher growth rates were observed at 24°C, using HU stored for 1d and with dilution factor equal to 1:200. In experiments with HU and wastewater, the removal of COD, total phosphorus and total nitrogen exceeded 80%, 90% and 50%, respectively, while ciprofloxacin and sulfamethoxazole were eliminated by more than 80%. The main removal mechanism for the former antimicrobial was photodegradation, while plant uptake and biodegradation seem to be of significant importance for the latter. Crude protein content reached 31.6% in experiments with HU and biomass harvesting, while starch content was enhanced when duckweed was transferred to water for 21d, reaching 47.1%.