Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 335–344 | Cite as

Zeolite-amended microalgal-bacterial system in a membrane photobioreactor for promoting system stability, biomass production, and wastewater treatment efficiency to realize Environmental-Enhancing Energy paradigm

  • Mengzi Wang
  • Lance Schideman
  • Haifeng LuEmail author
  • Yuanhui ZhangEmail author
  • Baoming Li
  • Wei Cao


Efficiently producing biomass through microalgal-bacterial system (MBS) by using hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater (HTLWW) is a critical step to realize Environmental-Enhancing Energy (E2-Energy) paradigm. However, the toxicity and instability of HTLWW reduce biomass accumulation and further limit biocrude oil production. Here, zeolites were applied to investigate their role in improving MBS performance, which was challenged by four shock loadings, in a membrane photobioreactor (MPBR). Results demonstrated that zeolites effectively improved ammonium (NH4+) removal in both short and long term. After adding zeolites in 2# shock loading phase, NH4+ removal quickly increased to 99.5% in 9 days, which was higher compared with that after 1# shock loading (increase to 86.1% in 43 days). Even after zeolites were removed, it only took 5 days to remove 89.3% of NH4+ after 4# shock loading. Zeolites also promoted the total suspended biomass (TSB), especially the microalgae, from the negative effect of shock loadings. Contrast to 1# and 4# shock loading phases, shorter reduction time of chlorophyll (a + b) was observed after 2# and 3# shock loading with zeolites. With zeolite, the average chlorophyll (a + b) and TSB were 35.2 and 1577.2 mg L−1, which respectively increased by 67.2 and 34.2% compared with those in the phases without zeolites. Zeolites act as adsorbents relieving the NH4+ concentration and provide favorite habitats to form biofilms, which promote the tolerance of microorganisms to the high HTLWW concentrations and increased the biomass production. Adding zeolite is one suggested way to promote MBS stability, pollutant removal, and biomass production.


Microalgal-bacterial system Membrane photobioreactor Zeolite Shock loading Hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater 


Funding information

This work is supported by the Beijing Science and Technology Program (Z161100001316009) and the National Scientific Foundation of China (51576206, 31472132 and 51308535).


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Agricultural Engineering in Structure and Environment, Ministry of AgricultureChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Ontario Agricultural CollegeUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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