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J Appl Phycol. 2008 Jun;20(3):227-235. Epub 2007 Aug 12.

Phototrophic biofilms and their potential applications.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands.


Phototrophic biofilms occur on surfaces exposed to light in a range of terrestrial and aquatic environments. Oxygenic phototrophs like diatoms, green algae, and cyanobacteria are the major primary producers that generate energy and reduce carbon dioxide, providing the system with organic substrates and oxygen. Photosynthesis fuels processes and conversions in the total biofilm community, including the metabolism of heterotrophic organisms. A matrix of polymeric substances secreted by phototrophs and heterotrophs enhances the attachment of the biofilm community. This review discusses the actual and potential applications of phototrophic biofilms in wastewater treatment, bioremediation, fish-feed production, biohydrogen production, and soil improvement.

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