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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Effect of microalgal treatments on pesticides in water

Hultberg, Malin; Bodin, Hristina; Ardal, Embla; Asp, Håkan


The effect of the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris on a wide range of different pesticides in water was studied. Treatments included short-term exposure (1 h) to living and dead microalgal biomass and long-term exposure (4 days) to actively growing microalgae. The initial pesticide concentration was 63.5±3.9 µg L-1. There was no significant overall reduction of pesticides after short-term exposure. A significant reduction of the total amount of pesticides was achieved after the long-term exposure to growing microalgae (final concentration 29.7±1.0 µg L-1) compared with the long-term control (37.0±1.2 µg L-1). The concentrations of 10 pesticides out of 38 tested were significantly lowered in the long-term algal treatment. A high impact of abiotic factors such as sunlight and aeration for pesticide reduction was observed when the initial control (63.5±3.9 µg L-1) and the long-term control (37.0±1.2 µg L-1) were compared. The results suggest that water treatment using microalgae, natural inhabitants of polluted surface waters, could be further explored not only for removal of inorganic nutrients but also for removal of organic pollutants in water.


Bioremediation; Biosorption; Chlorella vulgaris; Organic pollutants; Water treatment

Published in

Environmental Technology
2016, volume: 37, number: 7, pages: 893-898

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Bodin, Hristina
Kristianstad University
Ardal, Embla
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

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