Phycoremediation of landfill leachate with the chlorophyte Chlamydomonas sp. SW15aRL and evaluation of toxicity pre and post treatment
Abstract Landfill leachate treatment is an ongoing challenge in the wastewater management of existing sanitary landfill sites due to the complex nature of leachates and their heavy pollutant load. There is a continuous interest in treatment biotechnologies with expected added benefits for resource recovery; microalgal bioremediation is seen as promising in this regard. Toxicity reduction of landfill leachate subsequent to phycoremediation was investigated in this study. The treatment eventuated from the growth of the ammonia tolerant microalgal strain Chlamydomonas sp. SW15aRL using a N:P ratio adjustment in diluted leachate for facilitating the process. Toxicity tests ranging over a number of trophic levels were applied, including bacterial-yeast (MARA), protistean (microalgae growth inhibition test), crustacean (daphnia, rotifer) and higher plant (monocot, dicot) assays. Ammonia nitrogen in the diluted landfill leachate containing up to 158mgl −1 NH 4 + -N (60% dilution of the original) was reduced by 83% during the microalgal treatment. Testing prior to remediation indicated the highest toxicity in the crustacean assays Daphnia magna and Brachionus calyciflorus with EC50s at 24h of ~ 35% and 40% leachate dilution, respectively. A major reduction in toxicity was achieved with both bioassays post microalgal treatment with effects well below the EC20s. The microalgae inhibition test on the other hand indicated increased stimulation of growth after treatment as a result of toxicity reduction but also the presence of residual nutrients. Several concurrent processes of both biotic and abiotic natures contributed to pollutant reduction during the treatment. Modifying phosphate dosage especially seems to require further attention. As a by-product of the remediation process, up to 1.2gl −1 of microalgal biomass was obtained with ~ 18% DW lipid content. Highlights TAN 158mgl −1 in landfill leachate was reduced by 83% by phycoremediation. Optimal phosphate dosage requires further investigation. Major toxicity reduction was achieved based on crustacean assays. Generated microalgal biomass was 1.2gl −1 with ~ 18% DW lipid content. Graphical abstract [DISPLAY OMISSION]
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