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Reversible flocculation of microalgae using magnesium hydroxide
Vandamme, D.; Beuckels, A.; Markou, G.; Foubert, I.; Muylaert, K. (2015). Reversible flocculation of microalgae using magnesium hydroxide. Bioenergy Research 8(2): 716-725. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12155-014-9554-1
In: Bioenergy Research. ISSN 1939-1234, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 274908 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Phaeodactylum Bohlin, 1897 [WoRMS]; Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin, 1897 [WoRMS]; Marine; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Vandamme, D., more
  • Beuckels, A., more
  • Markou, G.

Abstract
    Flocculation of microalgae is a promising low-cost strategy to harvest microalgae for bulk biomass production. However, residual flocculants can interfere in further downstream processes or influence biomass quality. In this study, a new concept is demonstrated based on reversible magnesium hydroxide flocculation, using Chlorella vulgaris and Phaeodactylum tricornutum as, respectively, a freshwater and a marine model species. We show that flocculation was induced by precipitation of magnesium hydroxide at high pH (10 to 10.5). This resulted in a magnesium content of the microalgal biomass of 5 % for Chlorella and 18 % for Phaeodactylum. After pre-concentration of the microalgal biomass by gravity sedimentation, 95 % of the precipitated magnesium hydroxide could be removed from the biomass by mild acidification (pH 7 to 8). The pH fluctuations experienced by the microalgae during flocculation/de-flocculation had no influence on biomass composition (FAME, total N and P, carbohydrates, proteins, mineral content) and on the viability of microalgal cells. Magnesium can thus be used as pH-dependent reversible flocculant for harvesting microalgae in both marine and freshwater medium.

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