Algae are being grown for wastewater purification and biofuels production. Their growth on a substrate facilitates these uses by allowing facile separation of algae from the water. Dr. Mark Venable, Professor in the Department of Biology, compares different materials to determine which would best serve this purpose. A mixed culture of Anabaena and Chlorella was grown on various synthetic and natural fiber fabric substrates in a trough system with recirculating simulated wastewater. Filter materials studied as substrates for algal growth were muslin, olefin, pellon (acrylic), two types of polyester, and two types of nylon.
Impact of substrate material on algal biofilm biomass growth, Mark E. Venable & Melanie R. Podbielski., 2019. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-04148-8
Images of filter materials taken with Olympus IX81/DP71 inverted microscope. Field of view for all images is 665x885 μm, a. muslin, b. olefin, c. pellon, d. woven polyester, e. nonwoven polyester, f. woven nylon and g. nonwoven nylon.