Growth performance and nutrient removal of a Chlorella vulgaris-Rhizobium sp. co-culture during mixotrophic feed-batch cultivation in synthetic wastewater
Algal Research 2019, 4: 101690

Ferro L, Gojkovic Z, Muñoz R, Funk C

The subarctic green algal strain Chlorella vulgaris 13-1, newly isolated from Northern Sweden, and its co-occurring bacterium Rhizobium sp. were tested for their ability to produce valuable biomass and remove nutrients from synthetic wastewater during mixotrophic feed-batch cultivation at multiple hydraulic retention times (HRTs = 7, 5 and 3 days). The algal-bacterial co-culture showed better performance compared to the corresponding axenic cultures (HRT = 7 days), with a biomass concentration of 0.63 ± 0.03 g/L and removal rates of 49.5 ± 6.1% TOC, 55.7 ± 8.04% TN and 95.6 ± 3.6% TP at steady-state. Culture stability and a high nutrient removal capacity were recorded in the algal-bacterial co-culture even at HRTs of 5 and 3 days. Interestingly, reducing the HRT from 7 to 5 days resulted in a higher lipid content of the biomass, further reduction of the HRT to 3 days enhanced both daily biomass productivity (1.03 g/L/day) and nutrient assimilation. Mixotrophic co-cultivation of C. vulgaris-Rhizobium sp. can successfully be applied for wastewater reclamation in continuous mode at HRT of 3–7 days, and thus is suitable for both summer and winter conditions in Nordic countries.

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