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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Subarctic microalgal strains treat wastewater and produce biomass at low temperature and short photoperiod

Ferro, Lorenza; Gorzsas, Andras; Gentili, Francesco G.; Funk, Christiane


In Northern countries, microalgal-based processes are challenging due to low light and temperature conditions during a significant part of the year. Three natural strains from Northern Sweden (Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus sp., Desmodesmus sp.) and a collection strain (Scenedesmus obliques UTEX 417) were cultured in municipal wastewater, comparing their performances, biomass composition and nutrients removal under continuous light at standard (25 degrees C) and low temperature (5 degrees C), short photoperiod (3 h light, 25 degrees C), or moderate winter conditions (6 h light, 15 degrees C). Only the natural strains grew at low temperature, highly consuming total nitrogen and phosphate ( > 80% and > 70%, respectively) even during cold- and dark-stress. At reduced growth rates, C. vulgaris and Scenedesmus sp. produced similar amounts of biomass ( > 1 g/l) as in standard conditions. Scenedesmus sp. and Desmodesmus sp. showed phenotypic plasticity and increased carbohydrate content. Short photoperiod strongly reduced growth rates, biomass and storage compounds and induced flocculation in C. vulgaris.


Subarctic climate; Microalgae; Wastewater treatment; Temperature; Photoperiod

Published in

Algal Research
2018, Volume: 35, pages: 160-167

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Water Treatment

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)