Biodiesel wash water is a contaminating industrial effluent that must be treated prior to disposal. The use of this effluent as a low-cost alternative cultivation medium for microalgae could represent a viable supplementary treatment. We cultivated 11 microalgae species with potential use for biodiesel production to assess their growth capacities in biodiesel industrial washing waters. Only Monoraphidium contortum, Ankistrodesmus sp., Chlorococcum sp., and one unidentified Chlorophyceae species grew effectively in that effluent. M. contortum showed the highest growth capacity and had the second highest fatty acid content (267.9 mg g−1 of DW), predominantly producing palmitic (20.9%), 7,10,13-hexadecatrienoic (14%), oleic (16.2%), linoleic (10.5%), and linolenic acids (23.2%). In the second phase of the experiment, the microalgae were cultivated in biodiesel wash water at 75% of its initial concentration as well as in WC (control) medium. After 21 days of cultivation, 25.8 and 7.2% of the effluent nitrate and phosphate were removed, respectively, and the chemical oxygen demand was diminished by 31.2%. These results suggest the possibility of cultivating biodiesel producing microalgae in industrial wash water effluents.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 21, 2017
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