Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 3017–3027 | Cite as

CO2 fixation capability of Chlorella sp. and its use in treating agricultural wastewater

  • Harizah Bajunaid HarizEmail author
  • Mohd Sobri Takriff
  • Muneer M. Ba-Abbad
  • Nazlina Haiza Mohd Yasin
  • Noor Irma Nazashida Mohd Hakim
8th Asian Pacific Phycological Forum


Palm oil mill effluent (POME) is a highly polluted agro-industrial wastewater. The CO2 in industrial flue gas requires treatment before it can be discharged into the environment. Utilizing microalgae as the agent to treat wastewater and industrial flue gas is a waste-to-wealth approach. The resulting biomass can be commercialized in the form of valuable products. Chlorella sp. is a microalgal species that can tolerate the pollutant load and has been proven to be a suitable species for CO2 fixation. In this study, Chlorella sp. was cultivated in POME with the aim of reducing the pollutants in the POME and simultaneously capturing CO2. The optimization of the operational conditions of this microalgae-based treatment system was carried out using the response surface methodology (RSM) face centered-central composite design (FC-CCD). Operational factors include the air concentration of CO2 (10–25% v/v), the inlet gas flow rate of 500–2000 mL min−1, and initial inoculum concentration (10–30% v/v) of Chlorella sp. cultivated in POME. The target deliverables include the maximum amount of CO2 fixed by Chlorella sp. and the total nitrogen (TN) reduction as indicators of pollutant reduction by this treatment system. We found that a limited supply of CO2 caused growth limitation, while excess CO2 resulted in acid production that triggered microalgae growth inhibition. The optimum operational conditions were 10% v/v CO2, 1670 mL min−1 aeration rate, and 24.8% v/v inoculum concentration, predicted to simultaneously fix CO2 at 0.12 g of CO2 L−1 day−1 and reduce 80.9% TN, respectively.


Chlorophyta Bio-fixation Effluent treatment Greenhouse gases (GHGs) Palm oil mill effluent (POME) Phycoremediation 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Yayasan Sime Darby for the scholarship.

Funding information

This study received financial support from UKM-YSD Research Grant and Dana Impak Perdana DIP-2017-007.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Sustainable Process Technology (CESPRO)Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)BangiMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and PetroleumHadhramout University of Science & TechnologyMukallaYemen
  3. 3.School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)BangiMalaysia
  4. 4.Sime Darby Research Sdn Bhd, R&D Centre – Carey IslandCarey IslandMalaysia

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