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Bioresour Technol. 2008 Jul;99(11):4980-9. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 2805, a heat and intense, sunlight-tolerant microalga with potential for removing ammonium from wastewater.

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  • 1Environmental Microbiology Group, Northwestern Center for Biological Research, Mar Bermejo 195, Colonia Palo de Santa Rita, La Paz 23090, BCS, Mexico.


In the summer of 2003, a microalga strain was isolated from a massive green microalgae bloom in wastewater stabilization ponds at the treatment facility of La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico. Prevailing environmental conditions were air temperatures over 40 degrees C, water temperature of 37 degrees C, and insolation of up to 2400 micromol m2 s(-1) at midday for several hours at the water surface for four months. The microalga was identified as Chlorella sorokiniana Shih. et Krauss, based on sequencing its entire 18S rRNA gene. In a controlled photo-bioreactor, this strain can grow to high population densities in synthetic wastewater at temperatures of 40-42 degrees C and light intensity of 2500 micromol m2 s(-1) for 5h daily and efficiently remove ammonium from the wastewater under these conditions better than under normal lower temperature (28 degrees C) and lower light intensity (60 micromol m2 s(-1)). When co-immobilized with the bacterium Azospirillum brasilense that promotes growth of microalgae, the population of microalga grew faster and removed even more ammonium. Under exposure to extreme growth conditions, the quantity of four photosynthetic pigments increased in the co-immobilized cultures. This strain of microalga has potential as a wastewater treatment agent under extreme conditions of temperature and light intensity.

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