CO2-assisted removal of nutrients from municipal wastewater by microalgae Chlorella vulgaris and Scenedesmus obliquus

  • R. ChaudharyEmail author
  • Y. W. Tong
  • A. K. Dikshit
Original Paper


Axenic culture of microalgae Chlorella vulgaris ATCC® 13482 and Scenedesmus obliquus FACHB 417 was used for phycoremediation of primary municipal wastewater. The main aim of this study was to measure the effects of normal air and CO2-augmented air on the removal efficacy of nutrients (ammonia N and phosphate P) from municipal wastewater by the two microalgae. Batch experiments were carried out in cylindrical glass bottles of 1 L working volume at 25 °C and cool fluorescent light of 6500 lux maintaining 14/10 h of light/dark cycle with normal air supplied at 0.2 L min−1 per liter of the liquid for both algal strains for the experimental period. In the next set of experiments, the treatment process was enhanced by using 1, 2 and 5% CO2/air (vol./vol.) supply into microalgal cultures. The enrichment of inlet air with CO2 was found to be beneficial. The maximum removal of 76.3 and 76% COD, 94.2 and 92.6% ammonia, and 94.8 and 93.1% phosphate after a period of 10 days was reported for C. vulgaris and S. obliquus, respectively, with 5% CO2/air supply. Comparing the two microalgae, maximum removal rates of ammonia and phosphate by C. vulgaris were 4.12 and 1.75 mg L−1 day−1, respectively, at 5% CO2/air supply. From kinetic study data, it was found that the specific rates of phosphate utilization (q phsophate) by C. vulgaris and S. obliquus at 5% CO2/air supply were 1.98 and 2.11 day−1, respectively. Scale-up estimation of a reactor removing phosphate (the criteria pollutant) from 50 MLD wastewater influent was also done.


Chlorella vulgaris Kinetic study Municipal wastewater Nutrient uptake Phycoremediation Scenedesmus obliquus 



The present research study was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) program. The first author is very grateful to thank National University of Singapore for hosting his doctoral research under the Joint-Ph.D. Programme between Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and National University of Singapore.

Supplementary material

13762_2017_1571_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 60 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Environmental Research InstituteNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.School of Business, Environment and SocietyMälardalen UniversityVästeråsSweden
  5. 5.School of Environment, Resources and DevelopmentAsian Institute of TechnologyKlong LuangThailand

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