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Chemosphere. 2018 Jan;190:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.09.125. Epub 2017 Sep 26.

The production of cyanobacterial carbon under nitrogen-limited cultivation and its potential for nitrate removal.

Author information

1
Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, No.500 Dong Chuan Road, Shanghai 200241, PR China.
2
Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, No.500 Dong Chuan Road, Shanghai 200241, PR China. Electronic address: xcchen@des.ecnu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CyanoHABs) represent a serious threat to aquatic ecosystems. A beneficial use for these harmful microorganisms would be a promising resolution of this urgent issue. This study applied a simple method, nitrogen limitation, to cultivate cyanobacteria aimed at producing cyanobacterial carbon for denitrification. Under nitrogen-limited conditions, the common cyanobacterium, Microcystis, efficiently used nitrate, and had a higher intracellular C/N ratio. More importantly, organic carbons easily leached from its dry powder; these leachates were biodegradable and contained a larger amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and carbohydrates, but a smaller amount of dissolved total nitrogen (DTN) and proteins. When applied to an anoxic system with a sediment-water interface, a significant increase of the specific NOX--N removal rate was observed that was 14.2 times greater than that of the control. This study first suggests that nitrogen-limited cultivation is an efficient way to induce organic and carbohydrate accumulation in cyanobacteria, as well as a high C/N ratio, and that these cyanobacteria can act as a promising carbon source for denitrification. The results indicate that application as a carbon source is not only a new way to utilize cyanobacteria, but it also contributes to nitrogen removal in aquatic ecosystems, further limiting the proliferation of CyanoHABs.

KEYWORDS:

Carbohydrate; Carbon source; Cyanobacteria; Denitrification; Leaching organics; Nitrogen-limited cultivation

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