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Electronic Journal of Biotechnology
Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
ISSN: 0717-3458
Vol. 23, No. 1, 2016, pp. 63-68
Bioline Code: ej16050
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2016, pp. 63-68

 en Assessment of microalgae and nitrifiers activity in a consortium in a continuous operation and the effect of oxygen depletion
Vargas, Gustavo; Donoso-Bravo, Andrés; Vergara, Christian & Ruiz-Filippi, Gonzalo

Abstract

Background: Industrial wastewaters with a high content of nitrogen are a relevant environmental problem. Currently, treatments to remove nitrogen are not efficient, so is necessary to develop alternative methods. The objective of this study is to investigate a consortium of microalgae — nitrifying, that due to the symbiosis between them could be an interesting alternative.
Results: In this study, it was possible to obtain a consortium of nitrifying bacteria (NB) and microalgae (MA) capable of operating with low requirements of dissolved oxygen, using aerobic sludge from wastewater treatment plants. During the operation, this consortium presents removal percentages above 98% of ammonia, even at concentrations of DO of 0.5 mg O2 L-1. It is estimated that the removal was caused both by the action of nitrifying bacteria and microalgae. It was determined that approximately 60% of the ammonia feed was oxidized to nitrate by nitrifying bacteria, while the algae assimilated 40% of the nitrogen feed at steady state. A methodology for measuring the specific activities of nitrifying bacteria and microalgae by comparing the rates in the variation inorganic nitrogen compounds was established with satisfactory results. An average specific activity of 0.05 and 0.02 g NH4 + gVSS-1 d-1 for nitrifying bacteria and microalgae was determined, respectively.
Conclusions: The consortium it can be obtained in a single continuous operation, and has a high capacity for nitrogen removal with low oxygen content. The consortium could prove to be a more economical method compared to traditional.

Keywords
Ammonium; Consortium nitrifying-microalgae; Oxygen; Respirometry

 
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