Study develops a way to reduce wastewater pollutants more efficiently using microalgae
January 30, 2019
The meat and poultry industry is the largest segment of U.S. agriculture. In 2017, 52 billion pounds of meat and 48 billion pounds of poultry were produced in the U.S. As a result, large amounts of wastewater containing high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are produced and must be treated prior to being reintroduced into our water system.
Yulie Meneses, water for food processing specialist at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and research assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and her colleagues developed a way to use specialized groups of microalgae to more efficiently reduce these wastewater pollutants. The process relies on microalgae to do the work, rather than high-cost, energy-intensive mechanical aeration, as is done in traditional wastewater treatment.
Microalgae cannot typically survive the highly-polluted wastewater found in meat processing. In the past, there has been some success in diluting the wastewater prior to introducing the microalgae, but this treatment isn’t realistic at a large scale. However, Meneses and her team found that by first acclimating the microalgae to an environment similar to wastewater, it could better adapt when introduced to the real conditions. After adding the acclimated microalgae to the food processing wastewater, the same level of water quality was reached significantly faster than when microalgae were not added. The process was reduced from five days to three days and without the use of expensive mechanical aeration.
In addition to cleaning the wastewater, the acclimated microalgae process has the added bonus of converting wastewater pollutants into compounds like proteins and lipids, resulting in a usable byproduct.
Read the full article.
Water for Food Processing Specialist
January 31, 2019
Nepal is known for its towering Himalayan Mountains, but the country’s terrain and elevations are as diverse as the variety of people who call it home.
January 28, 2019
Researchers found that integrated modeling can be useful, but must be put into context using field studies and working with stakeholders to include cutting-edge management techniques.
May 10, 2017
Short description for the article.