Towards a circular economy: A novel microalgal two-step growth approach to treat excess nutrients from digestate and to produce biomass for animal feed

Implementing a circular economy aimed at reusing resources is becoming increasingly important for industry. Microalgae fit within a circular economy by being able to bioremediate nutrient waste and as a source of biomass for several commercial applications. Here, we report a novel validation of a circular economy concept using microalgae at a relevant industrial scale with a new two-phase process. During the first phase biomass was grown autotrophically, biomass was then concentrated using membrane technology for the second phase where mixotrophic conditions were applied to boost growth further. Microalgae cultures were able to grow (13.8 g/L), uptake and bioremediate nutrients (Nitrogen > 134 mg/L/day) from an anaerobic digestion side-stream (digestate), obtaining high quality microalgae biomass (> 45% protein content) suitable for use as animal feed, closing the circular economy loop for industrial applications.


Fuentes-Grünewald C, Gayo-Peláez JI, Ndovela V, Wood E, Kapoore RV, Llewellyn CA

Bioresource Technology 124349
11, 2, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2020.124349