Cyanobacterial growth in minimally amended anaerobic digestion effluent and flue-gas

Beyl, Talita ; Louw, Tobias M. ; Pott, Robert W. M. (2019)

CITATION: Beyl, T., Louw, T. M. & Pott, R. W. M. 2019. Cyanobacterial growth in minimally amended anaerobic digestion effluent and flue-gas. Microorganisms, 7(10):428, doi:10.3390/microorganisms7100428.

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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an important industrial process, particularly in a biorefinery approach. The liquid effluent and carbon dioxide in the off-gas, can be used to produce high-value products through the cultivation of cyanobacteria. Growth on AD effluent is often limited due to substrate limitation or inhibitory compounds. This study demonstrates the successful cultivation of Synechococcus on minimally amended AD effluent, supplemented with MgSO4 and diluted with seawater. An 8 L airlift reactor illustrated growth in a pilot scale setup. Higher biomass yields were observed for cyanobacteria grown in diluted AD effluent compared to minimal medium, with 60% total nitrogen removal in the effluent. It was demonstrated that controlling the pH, increasing dissolved salt concentrations and adding MgSO4 to the effluent allowed for the successful cultivation of the cyanobacterium, circumventing the addition of clean water for effluent dilution. This could ultimately increase the feasibility of anaerobic digestion-microalgae integrated biorefineries.

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