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Cultivation of Spirulina platensis for biomass production and nutrient removal from synthetic human urine


  • Chang, Yuanyuan
  • Wu, Zucheng
  • Bian, Lei
  • Feng, Daolun
  • Leung, Dennis Y.C.


Microalgae have long been recognized as having the potential to provide a better source of biofuel. In this study, Spirulina platensis was cultivated in human urine to couple wastewater treatment with biomass production. The characteristics of microalgae growth under autotrophic and mixotrophic (adding glucose or sodium acetate to the urine) conditions, wastewater nutrient removal and biomass quality were examined. After 7days, 97% of NH4+-N, 96.5% of total phosphorus (TP) and 85–98% of urea in the urine (ca. 120-diluted) were removed by the microalgae under autotrophic culture (30°C). The addition of organic carbon was found to greatly stimulate the microalgae growth. More important, the mixotrophic grown biomass showed an increase in the content of protein, which could be converted into biocrude oil via hydrothermal liquefaction. This study suggested that it might be possible to replace a common culture medium with human urine to produce S. platensis.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang, Yuanyuan & Wu, Zucheng & Bian, Lei & Feng, Daolun & Leung, Dennis Y.C., 2013. "Cultivation of Spirulina platensis for biomass production and nutrient removal from synthetic human urine," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 427-431.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:102:y:2013:i:c:p:427-431
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2012.07.024

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rawat, I. & Ranjith Kumar, R. & Mutanda, T. & Bux, F., 2011. "Dual role of microalgae: Phycoremediation of domestic wastewater and biomass production for sustainable biofuels production," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(10), pages 3411-3424.
    2. Markou, Giorgos & Georgakakis, Dimitris, 2011. "Cultivation of filamentous cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in agro-industrial wastes and wastewaters: A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(10), pages 3389-3401.
    3. Singh, Anoop & Olsen, Stig Irving, 2011. "A critical review of biochemical conversion, sustainability and life cycle assessment of algal biofuels," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(10), pages 3548-3555.
    4. Ferreira, L.S. & Rodrigues, M.S. & Converti, A. & Sato, S. & Carvalho, J.C.M., 2012. "Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis cultivation in tubular photobioreactor: Use of no-cost CO2 from ethanol fermentation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 379-385.
    5. Yuan, Xingzhong & Wang, Jingyu & Zeng, Guangming & Huang, Huajun & Pei, Xiaokai & Li, Hui & Liu, Zhifeng & Cong, Minghui, 2011. "Comparative studies of thermochemical liquefaction characteristics of microalgae using different organic solvents," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 6406-6412.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:renene:v:115:y:2018:i:c:p:276-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Cui, Yan & Yuan, Wenqiao, 2013. "Thermodynamic modeling of algal cell–solid substrate interactions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 485-492.
    3. Zhu, Liandong & Hiltunen, Erkki & Shu, Qing & Zhou, Weizheng & Li, Zhaohua & Wang, Zhongming, 2014. "Biodiesel production from algae cultivated in winter with artificial wastewater through pH regulation by acetic acid," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 103-110.


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