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Cultivation of the Marine Macroalgae Chaetomorpha linum in Municipal Wastewater for Nutrient Recovery and Biomass Production

Ge, Shijian, Champagne, Pascale
Environmental Science & Technology 2017 v.51 no.6 pp. 3558-3566
Chaetomorpha, biofuels, biomass production, carbon dioxide, drying, feedstocks, fuel production, lipids, macroalgae, microalgae, municipal wastewater, nitrogen, nutrient content, phosphorus, screening, wastewater treatment
Compared to microalgae, macroalgae are larger in size, thereby imposing lower separation and drying costs. This study demonstrates the feasibility of cultivating macroalgae Chaetomorpha linum in different types of municipal wastewaters, their ability to remove nutrient and their biomass composition for downstream biofuel production. Screening experiments indicated that C. linum grew well on primary (PW) and secondary wastewaters (SW), as well as centrate wastewater (CW) diluted to less than 20%. In a subsequent experiment, a step feeding approach was found to significantly increase biomass productivity to 10.7 ± 0.2 g AFDW·m–²·d–¹ (p < 0.001), a 26.5% improvement in comparison to the control with single feeding, when grown on 10-CW; meanwhile, nitrogen and phosphorus removal efficiencies rose to 86.8 ± 1.1% (p < 0.001) and 92.6 ± 0.2% (p < 0.001), respectively. The CO₂-supplemented SW cultures (10.1 ± 0.4 g AFDW·m–²·d–¹) were 1.20 times more productive than the corresponding controls without CO₂ supplementation (p < 0.001); however, similar improvements were not observed in PW (p = 0.07) and 10-CW cultures (p = 0.07). Moreover, wastewater type and nutrient concentration influenced biomass composition (protein, carbohydrate and lipid). These findings indicate that the application of the macroalgae C. linum could represent an effective wastewater treatment alternative that could also provide a feedstock for downstream processing to biofuels.