Synergistic relationships in algal-bacterial microcosms for the treatment of aromatic pollutants.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The potential of algal–bacterial microcosms was studied for the biodegradation of salicylate, phenol and phenanthrene. The isolation and characterization of aerobic bacterial strains capable of mineralizing each pollutant were first conducted. Ralstonia basilensis was isolated for salicylate degradation, Acinetobacter haemolyticus for phenol and Pseudomonas migulae and Sphingomonas yanoikuyae for phenanthrene. The green alga Chlorella sorokiniana was then cultivated in the presence of the pollutants at different concentrations, showing increasing inhibitory effects in the following order: salicylate<phenol<phenanthrene. The synergistic relationships in the algal–bacterial microcosms were clearly demonstrated, since for the three contaminants tested, a substantial removal (>85%) was recorded only in the systems inoculated with both algae and bacteria and incubated under continuous lighting. This study presents, to our knowledge, the first reported case of photosynthesis-enhanced biodegradation of toxic aromatic pollutants by algal–bacterial microcosms in a one-stage treatment.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Industrial Biotechnology


  • Biodegradation, Aromatic pollutants, Algal–bacterial microcosms, Synergistic relationships, Chlorella sorokiniana
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-300
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch