Applications of Microalgae in Wastewater Treatments: a Review

Elena-Suzana Biris-Dorhoi, Maria Tofana, Tania Mihăiescu, Radu Mihăiescu, Antonia Odagiu

Abstract


Water is the most important resource for mankind existence and development. Therefore, maintaining the water to a high quality is crucial. Wastewater treatment technologies are constantly evolving. Nowadays, the focus has shifted to the use of microalgae cultures, an interesting step for wastewater treatments, which can improve the treatment process in order to get a clean and healthy water. Microalgae by definition are unicellular algal species that can survive individually or in chains or clusters. They exist in both suspended forms (that free-float in a water body) and attached forms (that adhere to a submerged surface) and are one of the most important groups of organisms on the planet. Microalgae cultures offer a modern solution of wastewater tertiary treatment together with the production of potentially valuable biomass, which can be used for several purposes (biogas and biofuel production, composting, as animal feed or in aquaculture and production of fine chemicals). The microalgae use the nutrients (inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus) for their growth and have the capacity to remove heavy metals and some toxic organic compounds (dyes and antibiotics) and to reduce, also, the chemical and biochemical oxygen demand. In the present review we will focus on the application of microalgae in the wastewater treatment.

Keywords


microalgae, wastewater treatment, heavy metals, toxic compounds, COD, BOD, biomass

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