Combined carbon and nitrogen removal from acetonitrile using algal-bacterial bioreactors

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Abstract

When compared with Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus obliquus and Selenastrum capricornutum, C. sorokiniana presented the highest tolerance to acetonitrile and the highest O-2 production capacity. It also supported the fastest acetonitrile biodegradation when mixed with a suitable acetonitrile-degrading bacterial consortium. Consequently, this microalga was tested in symbiosis with the bacterial culture for the continuous biodegradation of acetonitrile at 2 g l(-1) in a stirred tank photobioreactor and in a column photobioreactor under continuous illumination (250 mu E m(-2) s(-1)). Acetonitrile removal rates of up to 2.3 g l(-1) day(-1) and 1.9 g l(-1) day(-1) were achieved in the column photobioreactor and the stirred-tank photobioreactor, respectively, when operated at the shortest retention times tested (0.4 days, 0.6 days, respectively). In addition, when the stirred-tank photobioreactor was operated with a retention time of 3.5 days, the microbial culture was capable of assimilating up to 71% and nitrifying up to 12% of the NH4+ theoretically released through the biodegradation of acetonitrile, thus reducing the need for subsequent nitrogen removal. This study suggests that complete removal of N-organics can be combined with a significant removal of nitrogen by using algal - bacterial systems and that further residual biomass digestion could pay-back part of the operation costs of the treatment plant.

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  • Industrial Biotechnology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-707
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Volume67
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes