Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.103, No.19, 8255-8265, 2019
Effects of multi-temperature regimes on cultivation of microalgae in municipal wastewater to simultaneously remove nutrients and produce biomass
Coupling algal cultivation with wastewater treatment due to their potentials to alleviate energy crisis and reduce environmental burden has attracted the increased attention in recent years. However, these microalgal-based processes are challenging since daily and seasonal temperature fluctuation may affect microalgal growth in wastewater, and the effects of the temperature regimes on microalgal biomass production and wastewater nutrient removal remain unclear. In this study, Chlorella vulgaris was continuously cultured for 15 days in municipal wastewater to investigate the effects on the algal biomass and wastewater nutrient removal in three temperature regimes: (1) low temperature (4 degrees C), (2) high temperature (35 degrees C), and (3) alternating high-low temperature (35 degrees C in the day: 4 degrees C at night). Compared with the other two temperature regimes, the high-low temperature conditions generated the most biomass (1.62 g L-1), the highest biomass production rate (99.21 mg L-1 day(-1)), and most efficient removal of COD, TN, NH3-N, and TP (83.0%, 96.5%, 97.8%, and 99.2%, respectively). In addition, the polysaccharides, proteins, lipid content, and fatty acid methyl ester composition analysis indicates that in alternating high-low temperature condition, biomass production increased the potential for biofuel production, and there was the highest lipid content (26.4% of total dry biomass). The results showed that the nutrients except COD were all efficiently removed in these temperature conditions, and the alternating high-low temperature condition showed great potential to generate algal biomass and alleviate the wastewater nutrients. This study provides some valuable information for large-scale algal cultivation in wastewater and microalgal-based wastewater treatments.