Removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from produced water using the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris cultivated in mixotrophic and heterotrophic conditions

Chemosphere(2024)

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Abstract
Chlorella vulgaris was cultivated for 15 days in 10 different treatments under mixotrophic and heterotrophic conditions, using wastewater from oil and poultry industries as the culture medium. The blends were made with produced water (PW), sterilized produced water (PWs), sterilized poultry wastewater (PoWs), sterilized seawater (SWs), and the addition of sodium nitrate to evaluate cell growth in treatments and the removal of PAHs. The heterotrophic condition showed more effective removal, having an initial concentration of 3.93 μg L-1 and a final concentration of 0.57 μg L-1 of total PAHs reporting 83%, during phycoremediation of (PW) than the mixotrophic condition, with an initial concentration of 3.93 μg L-1 and a final concentration of 1.96 and 43% removal for the PAHs. In the heterotrophic condition, the blend with (PWs + SWs) with an initial concentration of 0.90 μg L-1 and a final concentration of 0.32 μg L-1 had 64% removal of total PAHs compared to the mixotrophic condition with 37% removal having an initial concentration of 0.90 μg L-1 and a final concentration of 0.56 μg L-1. However, the best result in the mixotrophic condition was obtained using a blend of (PWs + PoWs) that had an initial cell concentration of 1.18 x 105 cells mL-1 and reached a final cell concentration of 4.39 x 105 cells mL-1, an initial concentration of 4.76 μg L-1 and a final concentration of 0.37 μg L-1 having a 92% total removal of PAHs. The biostimulation process increased the percentage of PAHs removal by 45% (PW) in the mixotrophic condition. This study showed that it is possible to allow an environmental remediation strategy that significantly reduces effluent toxicity and generates high value-added biomass in contaminated effluents rich in nutrients and carbon, based on a circular bioeconomy model.
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Key words
phycoremediation,recalcitrant compounds,biostimulation,wastewater,circular bioeconomy
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