Bioremediation of Wastewater Using a Novel Method of Microalgae Immobilized on Twin-Layer Recirculation System (TLRS)

  • M. Divya
  • P. Santhanam


Effluent is a general term used to represent the water with poor quality that contains more amounts of pollutants and microbes. The effluent is discharged into the nearby water bodies; it can cause serious environmental and health problems to human beings. Bioremediation is an ecofriendly technique to reduce the pollutant and other contaminants present in effluents. Effluent treatment involves several processes which can be classified as physical, chemical and biological based on the method adopted for treatment. Physical treatment includes sedimentation (clarification), screening, aeration, filtration, skimming, flotation and degasification. These treatment methods consume more energy and it involves higher costs. Chemical treatment includes chlorination, ozonation, neutralization, coagulation, adsorption and ion exchange. These methods could be expensive as well as harmful to the environment. Biological treatment is the best option for treating high-strength wastewater, because it is cost-effective, efficient and successful cleaning technique for treatment of effluents. The successful operation of biological waste treatment processes depends on the use of bacteria, algae, fungi, protozoa, etc. Microalgae are one of the best bioremediators for the treatment of effluent. Algal group are playing a very important role in bioremediation process. It has the capacity to produce oxygen during photosynthesis and it also provides the basis for maintenance of good water quality by means of self-purification, especially in those deeper surface waters that are still clean and healthy. During their growth, they trap sunlight and CO2 from the environment for their photosynthesis. Bioremediation using microalgae has a number of positive applications over the conventional methods as it is cost-effective and useful in treatment of wastewater, in CO2 sequestration, in sanitation and also in the production of renewable sources of energy such as biodiesel, biofuel, glycerol, methane gas, hydrogen gas, biofertilizers, etc.



Authors are thankful to authorities of Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli-24, for the facilities provided. Authors gratefully acknowledged the University Grants Commission (UGC), Govt. of India, New Delhi, for providing financial assistance to this work through major research project (MRP-MAJOR–ZOOL-2013-4956; 07/10/2015). One of the authors (MD) thanks the UGC for the fellowship provided.


  1. American Public Health Association. APHA. 2005. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 22nd ed. Washington, DC: APHA.Google Scholar
  2. Cai, T., S.Y. Park, and Y. Li. 2013. Nutrient recovery from wastewater streams by microalgae: Status and prospects. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 19: 360–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. De-Bashan, L.E., and Y. Bashan. 2010. Immobilized microalgae for removing pollutants: Review of practical aspects. Bioresource Technology 101: 1611–1627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. de la Noue, Joel, and D. Proulx. 1992. Biological tertiary treatment of urban wastewaters with chitosan-immobilized Phormidium sp. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 29: 292–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Evonne, P.Y. Tang. 1997. Polar cyanobacteria versus green algae for tertiary wastewater treatment in cool climates. Journal of Applied Phycology 9: 371–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gopinathan, C.P. 1982. Methods of culturing phytoplankton. In: Manual of research methods for fish and shellfish nutrition. CMFRl special Publication 8: 113–118.Google Scholar
  7. Mallick, N. 2002. Biotechnological potential of immobilized algae for wastewater N, P and metal removal: A review. Biometals 15: 377–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Miquel, P. 1892. De la culture artificielle des diatomees. Comptes Rendus Academy Science Paris 94: 1–780.Google Scholar
  9. Mohamed, N.A. 1994. Application of algal ponds for wastewater treatment and algal production. M.Sc. Thesis, Faculty of Science (Cairo University) Bani-Sweef Branch.Google Scholar
  10. Naumann, T., Z. Cebi, B. Podola, and M. Melkonian. 2013. Growing microalgae as aquaculture feeds on twin-layers: A novel solid-state photobioreactor. Journal of Applied Phycology 25: 1413–1420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nowack, E.C.M., B. Podola, and M. Melkonian. 2005. The 96-well Twin-Layer system: A novel approach in the cultivation of microalgae. Protist 156: 239–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Olguin, E.J. 2003. Phycoremediation: Key issues for cost-effective nutrient removal processes. Biotechnology Advances 22: 81–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Oswald, W.J., H.B. Gotaas, C.G. Golueke, and W.R. Kellen. 1957. Algae in wastewater treatment. Sewage and Industrial Wastes 29: 437–455.Google Scholar
  14. Roeselers, G., M.C.M. Van Loosdrecht, and G. Muyzer. 2008. Phototrophic biofilms and their potential applications. Journal of Applied Phycology 20: 227–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Santhanam, P. 2016. Bioremediation of aquaculture wastewater using a novel method of marine microalgae immobilized on twin layer recirculation system for zero waste management, UGC-MRP-First year progress report. pp 32.Google Scholar
  16. Shi, J., B. Podola, and M. Melkonian. 2007. Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater using microalgae immobilized on twin layers: An experimental study. Journal of Applied Phycology 19: 417–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Walne, P.R. 1976. Factors affecting the relation between feeding and growth in bivalves. In Harvesting Polluted Waters, ed. O. Devik, 169–176. New York: Plenum press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Divya
    • 1
  • P. Santhanam
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Planktonology & Aquaculture Laboratory, Department of Marine Science, School of Marine SciencesBharathidasan UniversityTiruchirappalliIndia

Personalised recommendations