Using Marine Microalgae Strains for Oil Removal from Oil-Water Emulsion Remediation


Abstract

The biological treatment of emulsified oils, using bacteria, has gained a lot of attention and its effectiveness has been widely proven. This is a very important process, as emulsified oils are considered a major environmental hazard. However, the produced biomass, i.e., bacteria, does not have any obvious value. One the other hand, if oils can be removed by microalgae, the produced biomass in this case can be readily used to produce lipids, proteins and pigments. The former product can be used for biodiesel production and the latter two products have potential to be used in pharmaceutical and food applications. The ability of two marine strains, namely Nannochloropsis sp. and Tetraselmis sp. to grow in water containing emulsified oil has been tested. The effectiveness of the selected strains to utilize the organics as a carbon source and reduce their concentration has also been assessed. The oil removal efficiency and cells growth rates were evaluated. In the tested condition, the two strains were able to grow and reduce the oil concentration equally well, with Nannochloropsis sp. performing slightly better. The positive outputs from this work benefits the energy and wastewater treatment sectors



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