Photosynthetically oxygenated salicylate biodegradation in a continuous stirred tank photobioreactor

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A consortium consisting of a Chlorella sorokiniana strain and a Ralstonia basilensis strain was able to carry out sodium salicylate biodegradation in a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) using exclusively photosynthetic oxygenation. Salicylate biodegradation depended on algal activity, which itself was a function of microalgal concentration, light intensity, and temperature. Biomass recirculation improved the photobioreactor performance by up to 44% but the results showed the existence of an optimal biomass concentration above which dark respiration started to occur and the process efficiency started to decline. The salicylate removal efficiency increased by a factor of 3 when illumination was increased from 50 - 300 muE/M-2 (.)s. In addition, the removal rate of sodium salicylate was shown to be temperature-dependent, increasing from 14 to 27 mg/l(.)h when the temperature was raised from 26.5 to 31.5degreesC. Under optimized conditions (300 muE/m(2) (.)s, 30degreesC, 1 g sodium salicylate/l in the feed and biomass recirculation) sodium salicylate was removed at a maximum constant rate of 87 mg/l.h, corresponding to an estimated oxygenation capacity of 77 mg O-2/l(.)h (based on a BOD value of 0.88 g O-2/g sodium salicylate for the tested bacterium), which is in the range of the oxygen transfer capacity of large-scale mechanical surface aerators. Thus, although higher degradation rates were attained in the control reactor, the photobioreactor is a cost-efficient process which reduces the cost of aeration and prevents volatilization problems associated with the degradation of toxic volatile organic compounds under aerobic conditions. (C) 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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  • Industrial Biotechnology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-803
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch