Removal of dissolved organic carbon and nutrients from urban wastewaters by Galdieria sulphuraria: Laboratory to field scale demonstration

S. M. Henkanatte-Gedera, T. Selvaratnam, M. Karbakhshravari, M. Myint, N. Nirmalakhandan, W. Van Voorhies, Peter Lammers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Previous laboratory studies have demonstrated the ability of microalgae Galdieria sulphuraria (G. sulphuraria) in removing organic carbon and nutrients from filtered primary-settled urban wastewater via mixotrophic metabolism. An advantage of mixotrophic cultivation of G. sulphuraria over heterotrophic conditions is higher biomass yield that can potentially translate into higher energy recovery from the biomass. This study recorded a yield of 0.63g biomass/g glucose under mixotrophic conditions while that under heterotrophic conditions was 0.42g biomass/g glucose. These laboratory studies were extended to cultivate G. sulphuraria under field conditions in a 700L photobioreactor (PBR) fed with primary-settled wastewater. Biomass growth and removal of dissolved organic carbon and nutrients in this PBR under batch mode were monitored over a range of influent and operating conditions. This field study confirmed that G. sulphuraria was able to grow well in primary-settled wastewater and reduce organic carbon (measured as BOD5), ammoniacal nitrogen, and phosphate levels to below the respective discharge standards; corresponding 3-day removal efficiencies ranged 46-72%; 63-89%; and 71-95%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAlgal Research
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 4 2016



  • BOD removal
  • Field demonstration
  • Galdieria sulphuraria
  • Nutrient removal
  • Urban wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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