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A novel approach of using zeolite for ammonium toxicity mitigation and value-added Spirulina cultivation in wastewater

Lu, Qian, Han, Pei, Chen, Fufeng, Liu, Tonggui, Li, Jun, Leng, Lijian, Li, Jingjing, Zhou, Wenguang
Bioresource technology 2019 v.280 pp. 127-135
Spirulina, adsorption, algae culture, ammonium, biomass production, desorption, industrialization, nitrogen, pH, remediation, toxicity, value added, wastewater, zeolites
Owning to the ammonium toxicity, some ammonium-rich wastewater may not be used for algae cultivation. To overcome this problem, herein, a novel approach of using zeolite to mitigate ammonium toxicity in wastewater for value-added Spirulina production was proposed. Synthetic zeolite was used as medium for ammonium adsorption in wastewater and subsequently as slow-releaser providing nitrogen to Spirulina growth. The optimal conditions for ammonium adsorption include pH value of 8.0, zeolite dose of 300 g/L, and adsorption time of 9 h. The results showed that in terms of biomass production and ammonium recovery, zeolite-based pretreatment has great advantages over some conventional pretreatment technologies. After algae-assisted desorption treatment, ammonium adsorption capacity of zeolite increased back to 1.21 mg/g. In a real-world application, this work will provide a feasible and sustainable approach to remediate ammonium-rich wastewater, produce value-added Spirulina biomass, and recycle used zeolite, further promoting the industrialization of algae-based wastewater remediation.