Growth and metal bioconcentration by conspecific freshwater macroalgae cultured in industrial waste water

Ellison, Michael B., de Nys, Rocky, Paul, Nicholas A., and Roberts, David A. (2014) Growth and metal bioconcentration by conspecific freshwater macroalgae cultured in industrial waste water. PeerJ, 2. e401. pp. 1-17.

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The bioremediation of industrial waste water by macroalgae is a sustainable and renewable approach to the treatment of waste water produced by multiple industries. However, few studies have tested the bioremediation of complex multi-element waste streams from coal-fired power stations by live algae. This study compares the ability of three species of green freshwater macroalgae from the genus Oedogonium, isolated from different geographic regions, to grow in waste water for the bioremediation of metals. The experiments used Ash Dam water from Tarong power station in Queensland, which is contaminated by multiple metals (Al, Cd, Ni and Zn) and metalloids (As and Se) in excess of Australian water quality guidelines. All species had consistent growth rates in Ash Dam water, despite significant differences in their growth rates in "clean" water. A species isolated from the Ash Dam water itself was not better suited to the bioremediation of that waste water. While there were differences in the temporal pattern of the bioconcentration of metals by the three species, over the course of the experiment, all three species bioconcentrated the same elements preferentially and to a similar extent. All species bioconcentrated metals (Cu, Mn, Ni, Cd and Zn) more rapidly than metalloids (As, Mo and Se). Therefore, bioremediation in situ will be most rapid and complete for metals. Overall, all three species of freshwater macroalgae had the ability to grow in waste water and bioconcentrate elements, with a consistent affinity for the key metals that are regulated by Australian and international water quality guidelines. Together, these characteristics make Oedogonium a clear target for scaled bioremediation programs across a range of geographic regions.

Item ID: 33403
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Keywords: bioremediation, algae, waste water, metals, metalloids, coal
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© 2014 Ellison et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

Funders: Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centre Scheme, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
Date Deposited: 28 May 2014 02:38
FoR Codes: 10 TECHNOLOGY > 1002 Environmental Biotechnology > 100203 Bioremediation @ 80%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 85 ENERGY > 8598 Environmentally Sustainable Energy Activities > 859899 Environmentally Sustainable Energy Activities not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960912 Urban and Industrial Water Management @ 50%
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