Northern green algae have the capacity to remove active pharmaceutical ingredients
Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2019, 170:644-656
Gojkovic Z, Lindberg RH, Tysklind M, Funk C

Eight recently isolated microalgal species from Northern Sweden and the culture collection strain Scenedesmus obliquus RISE (UTEX 417) were tested for their ability to remove 19 pharmaceuticals from growth medium upon cultivation in short light path, flat panel photobioreactors. While the growth of one algal species, Chlorella sorokiniana B1-1, was completely inhibited by the addition of pharmaceuticals, and the one of Scenedesmus sp. B2-2 was strongly inhibited, the other algal strains grew well and produced biomass. In general, lipophilic compounds were removed highly efficient from the culture medium by the microalgae (>70% in average within 2 days). The most lipophilic compounds Biperiden, Trihexyphenidyl, Clomipramine and Amitriptyline significantly accumulated in the biomass of most algal species, with a positive correlation between accumulation and their total biomass content. More persistent in the growth medium were hydrophilic compounds like Caffeine, Fluconazole, Trimetoprim, Codeine, Carbamazepin, Oxazepam and Tramadol, which were detected in amounts of above 60% in average after algal treatment. While Coelastrella sp. 3-4 and Coelastrum astroideum RW10 were most efficient to accumulate certain compounds in their biomass, two algae species, Chlorella vulgaris 13-1 and Chlorella saccharophila RNY, were not only highly efficient in removing all 19 pharmaceuticals from the growth medium within 12 days, at the same time only small amounts of these compounds accumulated in their biomass allowing its further use. Chlorella vulgaris 13-1 was able to remove most compounds within 6 days of growth, while Chlorella saccharophila RNY needed 8-10 days."Wild" Nordic microalgae therefore are able to remove active pharmaceutical ingredients, equally or more efficient than the investigated culture collection strain, thereby demonstrating their possible use in sustainable wastewater reclamation in Nordic conditions.

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