International Microbiology

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 41–48 | Cite as

Implication of highly metal-resistant microalgal-bacterial co-cultures for the treatment of simulated metal-loaded wastewaters

  • Saima Batool
  • Ali HussainEmail author
  • Muhammad Anwar Iqbal
  • Arshad Javid
  • Waqas Ali
  • Syed Mohsin Bukhari
  • Muhammad Akmal
  • Javed Iqbal Qazi
Original Article


Microalgal-bacterial co-cultures were employed for the treatment of artificially prepared metal-rich wastewaters in this study. For the purpose, highly metal-resistant microalgal and bacterial species were isolated from a leading wastewater channel flowing through Lahore, Pakistan, and characterized at the molecular level. The microbial identities were proved after BLAST analysis. The microalgal (Chlorella vulgaris-BH1) and bacterial (Exiguobacterium profundum-BH2) species were then co-cultured in five different proportions. Five different proportions of potentially mutualistic microbial co-cultures (comprising of microalgal to bacterial cells in ratios of 1:3, 2:3, 3:3, 3:1, and 3:2) prepared thus were employed to remediate artificially prepared metal-loaded wastewaters. Three randomly selected toxic metals (Cu, Cr, and Ni) were used in this study to prepare metal-rich wastewaters. The microalgal-bacterial co-cultures were then exposed independently to the wastewaters containing 100 ppm of each of the above mentioned metals. The inoculated wastewaters were incubated maximally for a period of 15 days. The metal uptake was noted periodically after every 5 days. The results of the present study depicted that maximally about 78.7, 56.4, and 80% of Cu, Cr, and Ni were removed, respectively after an incubation period of 15 days. The microbial co-culture consisting of microalgal to bacterial cells in a ratio of 3:1 showed the highest remedial potential. The findings of the present study will be helpful in developing effective microalgal-bacterial consortia for economical, efficient, and environment-friendly rehabilitation of the polluted sites.


Biosorption Green remediation Metallic pollutants Microalgal-bacterial consortium Microbial co-culturing Wastewater treatment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saima Batool
    • 1
  • Ali Hussain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Muhammad Anwar Iqbal
    • 2
  • Arshad Javid
    • 1
  • Waqas Ali
    • 1
  • Syed Mohsin Bukhari
    • 1
  • Muhammad Akmal
    • 3
  • Javed Iqbal Qazi
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and EcologyUniversity of Veterinary and Animal SciencesLahorePakistan
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyWomen University of Azad Jammu and KashmirBaghPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Fisheries and AquacultureUniversity of Veterinary and Animal SciencesLahorePakistan
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan

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