Novel fungal pelletization-assisted technology for algae harvesting and wastewater treatment

Wenguang Zhou, Yanling Cheng, Yun Li, Yiqin Wan, Yuhuan Liu, Xiangyang Lin, Roger Ruan

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160 Scopus citations


A novel fungi pelletization-assisted bioflocculation technology was developed for efficient algae harvesting and wastewater treatment. Microalga Chlorella vulgaris UMN235 and two locally isolated fungal species Aspergillus sp. UMN F01 and UMN F02 were used to study the effect of various cultural conditions on pelletization process for fungi-algae complex. The results showed that pH was the key factor affecting formation of fungi-algae pellet, and pH could be controlled by adjusting glucose concentration and fungal spore number added. The best pelletization happened when adding 20 g/L glucose and approximately 1.2E8/L spores in BG-11 medium, under which almost 100 % of algal cells were captured onto the pellets with shorter retention time. The fungi-algae pellets can be easily harvested by simple filtration due to its large size (2-5 mm). The filtered fungi-algae pellets were reused as immobilized cells for treatment wastewaters and the nutrient removal rates of 100, 58.85, 89.83, and 62.53 % (for centrate) and 23.23, 44.68, 84.70, and 70.34 % (for diluted swine manure wastewater) for ammonium, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chemical oxygen demand, respectively, under both 1- and 2-day cultivations. The novel technology developed is highly promising compared with current algae harvesting and biological wastewater treatment technologies in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-228
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The study was supported in part by grants from the University of Minnesota Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment and Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, as well as the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resource, and the MOE Biomass Engineering Center in China.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Animal wastewater
  • Fungi pelletization
  • Microalgae algae harvesting
  • Municipal wastewater
  • Wastewater treatment


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