Water toxicity in reservoirs after freshwater algae harvest
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/4423
EDITED VERSION: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.124560
UNESCO SUBJECT: 2414 Microbiología ; 2599 Otras Especialidades de la Tierra, Espacio o Entorno
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Blooms of microalgae and cyanobacteria increase every year, presenting great problems for the environment. Finding a way of harvesting these microalgae could be useful for water governance. Furthermore, the method should not cause cell lysis and should thus avoiding discharging toxins into the water. Three reservoirs were studied, two of them with eutrophication problems (As Conchas and A Baxe) and another (Salas) with no such problems. Three different harvesting methods were studied; electroflocculation (EF) with the application time being varied; centrifugation, with application times and speeds being varied; and finally, natural sedimentation. The highest efficiency was obtained in the culture from A Baxe, which had a higher initial absorbance value (1.664), using EF (90.64% for an application time of 2 min and 30 s) and centrifugation at 4000 rpm (92.25% for2 minutes, 92.73% for 5 min). Electrofloculation can obtain up to 84% more biomass than natural sedimentation alone. Sample toxicity was studied before and after harvesting using Microcystest and found to be higher after harvesting. It was observed that for the same sample, the higher the yield was the greater the toxicity was. For the A Baxe culture with an application time of 2 min, a speed of 2000 rpm and a yield of 87.02%, a toxicity figure of 0.94 μg/L was obtained, while for a speed of 4000 rpm the yield was 92.25% and the toxicity was 1.05 μg/L. The toxicity limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 1 μg/L, and this small difference seems to be key. With these results, this study concludes that chlorophyll levels may interfere with the test used. Future tests or analyses should be developed so as to avoid such interference, which may alter the toxin values. Electroflocculation seems to be a promising method since it does not cause the lysis of "Microcystis aeruginosa", whereas the centrifugation method could give problems. Finally, it is worth highlighting the importance of performing toxin measurements after harvesting the microalgae to check that the method is viable in natural ecosystems.
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