Assessment of a tannin-based organic polymer to harvest Chlorella vulgaris biomass from swine wastewater digestate phycoremediation

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This study investigated the efficiency of an organic tannin polymer alone or amended with polyacrylamide to harvest Chlorella vulgaris biomass grown in a laboratory-scale photobioreactor treating swine wastewater digestate. The effect of biomass concentration, tannin (TAN) dosages and changes in pH were evaluated in jar test experiments. Among the TAN concentrations tested (11, 22, 44, 89, 178 mg L−1), 11 mg L−1 showed the highest biomass recovery (97%). The highest coagulation/ flocculation efficiencies were obtained at pH 5 to 7. Flocculation efficiency improved from 50 to 97% concomitant with the increasing biomass concentrations from 45 to 165 mg L−1, respectively. Recovery efficiencies above 95% were achieved with the same TAN dosage (11 mg L−1) irrespective of the concentration of organic carbon present (75 to 300 mg TOC L−1). Overall, the results suggest that TAN could become an interesting alternative choice of non-toxic organic polymer for harvesting Chlorella sp. from organic-rich wastewater.

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