Kerala

Fish, dairy industry waste can enhance microalgae biomass production: researchers

At a time when algae researchers around the world are striving to develop cheaper nutrient sources for large-scale production of microalgae, a group of research students from the Phytoscience Laboratory, Central University of Kerala (CUK), Kasaragod, has established that wastewater from fish and dairy industries act as suitable nutrient resource to increase algal biomass production and enhance algae-based bioproducts.

Microalgae have attracted considered interest worldwide due to their extensive application potential in the renewable energy, biopharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.

The research was carried out by a team comprising K. Arunkumar, Professor and Head of the Department of Plant Science, CUK; and research students Vidya D., Nayana K., Sreelakshmi M., Keerthi K.V., and Sneha Mohan.

Ms. Vidya said that in Kerala, the average fish production was 5.4 lakh tonne and dairy production 4.6 billion litres per year.

The lack of a proper system of wastewater treatment results in the discharge of untreated waste into water bodies and land, resulting in severe pollution and contamination issues.

“Utilisation of waste by understanding its actual value reduces the additional cost of pre-treatment and opens the way to global cleanliness. Microalgae have the ability to absorb organic and inorganic nutrients from these waste for their growth and production of high-value products,” Ms. Vidya said.

She said that unlike previous studies by researchers, who had used Scenedesmus and Chlorella microalgae, the CUK team had utilised five commercially important microalgae, including Chlorella Coelastrella, Haematococcus, Dunaliella, and Chroococcus, for the breakdown of nutrients in the dairy and fish waste water.

“The study found that the process not only provides efficient and cost-effective wastewater treatment, but also that algae biomass grown during this water treatment process could be used as a source of protein, carbohydrate, pigment, or biofuel production”.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 10:53:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/fish-dairy-industry-waste-can-enhance-microalgae-biomass-production-researchers/article37046370.ece

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