Development of a new wastewater treatment process for resource recovery of carotenoids

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

A new wastewater treatment process that involves coagulation, ozonation, and microalgae cultivation has been developed. Here, two challenges are discussed. The first was minimizing phosphorus removal during coagulation in order to maximize algal production. The second was to optimize microalgae cultivation; algal species that grow rapidly and produce valuable products are ideal for selection. Haematococcus pluvialis, which produces the carotenoid astaxanthin, was used. Growth rate, nutrient removal ability, and astaxanthin production of H. pluvialis in coagulated wastewater were investigated. After coagulation with chitosan, the turbidity and suspended solids decreased by 89% ± 8.4 → 8% and 71 → 73% ± 16%, respectively. The nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the supernatant remained at 86% ± 6% and 69 → 67% ± 24%, respectively. These results indicate that coagulation with chitosan can remove turbidity and SS while preserving nutrients. H. pluvialis grew well in the supernatant of coagulated wastewater. The astaxanthin yield from coagulated wastewater in which microalgae were cultured was 3.26 mg/L, and total phosphorus and nitrogen contents decreased by 99.0% ± 1.4% → 99% + 1% and 90.3% ± 7.6% → 90% ± 8% (Days 31–35), respectively.

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