Photosynthetic based algal-bacterial combined treatment of mixtures of organic pollutants and CO2 mitigation in a continuous photobioreactor

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An algal-bacterial microcosm was synthetically constructed of Chlorella vulgaris MMl and Pseudomonas MTl. This microcosm was able to treat simulated wastewater supplemented with mixtures of phenol and pyridine up to 4.6 and 4.4 mM, respectively, in a continuous stirred tank bioreactor (CSTR) using photosynthetic oxygenation. Complete pollutant removal and detoxification and 82 % removal of introduced chemical oxygen demand (COD) were achieved at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 2.7 days. Increasing the influent load to 5.3 and 6.3 mM reduced the removal of phenol, pyridine and COD to 78, 21 and 59 %, respectively. Fertilization of the photobioreactor with 24 mM NaHCO3 restored the treatment and detoxification efficiencies. The system was able to additionally mitigate up to 72 mM NaHCO3 at the same HRT. Although the fertilization increased the system treatment efficiency, the settleability of the algal-bacterial microcosm was significantly reduced. When the photobioreactor was operated at HRT of 2.7 days in a 12/12 h of dark/light cycle, complete removal of 4.7 mM phenol was recorded but only 11 % of 5.7 mM pyridine was removed. The COD removal efficiency and CO2 mitigation were also reduced to 65 and 86 %, respectively, and the effluent retained significant toxicity where 73 % inhibition was recorded. Elongation of the illumination time to 48 h (HRT of 4 days at 12/12 h dark/light cycle) restored the treatment and detoxification efficiencies. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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