Enhanced and Balanced Microalgal Wastewater Treatment (COD, N, and P) by Interval Inoculation of Activated Sludge.J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2019 Sep 28; 29(9):1434-1443.JM
Although chemical oxygen demand (COD) is an important issue for wastewater treatment, COD reduction with microalgae has been less studied compared to nitrogen or phosphorus removal. COD removal is not efficient in conventional wastewater treatment using microalgae, because the algae release organic compounds, thereby finally increasing the COD level. This study focused on enhancing COD removal and meeting the effluent standard for discharge by optimizing sludge inoculation timing, which was an important factor in forming a desirable algae/bacteria consortium for more efficient COD removal and higher biomass productivity. Activated sludge has been added to reduce COD in many studies, but its inoculation was done at the start of cultivation. However, when the sludge was added after 3 days of cultivation, at which point the COD concentration started to increase again, the algal growth and biomass productivity were higher than those of the initial sludge inoculation and control (without sludge). Algal and bacterial cell numbers measured by qPCR were also higher with sludge inoculation at 3 days later. In a semi-continuous cultivation system, a hydraulic retention time of 5 days with sludge inoculation resulted in the highest biomass productivity and N/P removal. This study achieved a further improved COD removal than the conventional microalgal wastewater treatment, by introducing bacteria in activated sludge at optimized timing.