A novel approach of using zeolite for ammonium toxicity mitigation and value-added Spirulina cultivation in wastewater

Qian Lu, Pei Han, Fufeng Chen, Tonggui Liu, Jun Li, Lijian Leng, Jingjing Li, Wenguang Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Owning to the ammonium toxicity, some ammonium-rich wastewater may not be used for algae cultivation. To overcome this problem, herein, a novel approach of using zeolite to mitigate ammonium toxicity in wastewater for value-added Spirulina production was proposed. Synthetic zeolite was used as medium for ammonium adsorption in wastewater and subsequently as slow-releaser providing nitrogen to Spirulina growth. The optimal conditions for ammonium adsorption include pH value of 8.0, zeolite dose of 300 g/L, and adsorption time of 9 h. The results showed that in terms of biomass production and ammonium recovery, zeolite-based pretreatment has great advantages over some conventional pretreatment technologies. After algae-assisted desorption treatment, ammonium adsorption capacity of zeolite increased back to 1.21 mg/g. In a real-world application, this work will provide a feasible and sustainable approach to remediate ammonium-rich wastewater, produce value-added Spirulina biomass, and recycle used zeolite, further promoting the industrialization of algae-based wastewater remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 51668044 ), the Key Research Development Program of the Jiangxi Province of China ( 20161BBH80029 , 20171BBG70036 and 20181BBH80004 ), and the Talent Program for Distinguished Young Scholars of Jiangxi Province of China ( 20171BCB23015 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Algae
  • Ammonium toxicity
  • Biomass
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Zeolite


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