Growth potential of microalgae on ammonia-rich anaerobic digester effluent for wastewater remediation

Kayla Rude, Cody Yothers, Tyler J. Barzee, Serena Kutney, Ruihong Zhang, Annaliese Franz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Microalgae strains, Chlorella sorokiniana, Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus acutus f. alternans, and Scenedesmus obliquus, can be successfully cultivated on ammonia-rich ultrafiltered anaerobically digested food waste, referred to as food waste permeate (FWP), and its ammonia-stripped counterpart, stripped food waste permeate (SFWP). Using a three-stage screening method, these four microalgae strains were determined to be viable for cultivation on diluted FWP and SFWP out of 10 strains initially investigated. Cultivation utilizing FWP supported similar or higher microalgae growth compared to cultivation on synthetic media. Nutrient remediation efficiencies vary across species and conditions, with C. sorokiniana cultures reaching >95% reductions in both phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations when cultivated on SFWP. Analysis of both the growth and remediation capacities of the four microalgae strains on FWP demonstrate their potential use as an alternative treatment method for nutrient-dense waste streams.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102613
JournalAlgal Research
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the California Energy Commission [Award No. ARV-15-008]. We acknowledge Dr. Andrew Burch, Justin Lee and Jeanelle Smoot for their technical support during this study, and reviewers for their helpful comments during the review process.

Funding Information:
The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests: Annaliese Franz reports financial support was provided by California Energy Commission.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Ammonia
  • Anaerobic digestate
  • Biomass productivity
  • Cultivation
  • Growth inhibition
  • Nutrient remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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