Chemical and biological characterization of wastewater generated from hydrothermal liquefaction of Spirulina

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Abstract

Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is an attractive method for converting wet biomass into petroleum-like biocrude oil that can be refined to make petroleum products. This approach is advantageous for conversion of low-lipid algae, which are promising feedstocks for sustainable large-scale biofuel production. As with natural petroleum formation, the water in contact with the produced oil contains toxic compounds. The objectives of this research were to: (1) identify nitrogenous organic compounds (NOCs) in wastewater from HTL conversion of Spirulina; (2) characterize mammalian cell cytotoxicity of specific NOCs, NOC mixture, and the complete HTL wastewater (HTL-WW) matrix; and (3) investigate mitigation measures to reduce toxicity in HTL-WW. Liquid-liquid extraction and nitrogen-phosphorus detection was used in conjunction with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), which detected hundreds of NOCs in HTL-WW. Reference materials for nine of the most prevalent NOCs were used to identify and quantify their concentrations in HTL-WW. Mammalian cell cytotoxicity of the nine NOCs was quantified using a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell assay, and the descending rank order for cytotoxicity was 3-dimethylamino-phenol > 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidone > 2,6-dimethyl-3-pyridinol > 2-picoline > pyridine > 1-methyl-2- pyrrolidinone > σ-valerolactam > 2-pyrrolidinone > ε-caprolactam. The organic mixture extracted from HTL-WW expressed potent CHO cell cytotoxic activity, with a LC50 at 7.5% of HTL-WW. Although the toxicity of HTL-WW was substantial, 30% of the toxicity was removed biologically by recycling HTL-WW back into algal cultivation. The remaining toxicity of HTL-WW was mostly eliminated by subsequent treatment with granular activated carbon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2131-2138
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 19 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

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title = "Chemical and biological characterization of wastewater generated from hydrothermal liquefaction of Spirulina",
abstract = "Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is an attractive method for converting wet biomass into petroleum-like biocrude oil that can be refined to make petroleum products. This approach is advantageous for conversion of low-lipid algae, which are promising feedstocks for sustainable large-scale biofuel production. As with natural petroleum formation, the water in contact with the produced oil contains toxic compounds. The objectives of this research were to: (1) identify nitrogenous organic compounds (NOCs) in wastewater from HTL conversion of Spirulina; (2) characterize mammalian cell cytotoxicity of specific NOCs, NOC mixture, and the complete HTL wastewater (HTL-WW) matrix; and (3) investigate mitigation measures to reduce toxicity in HTL-WW. Liquid-liquid extraction and nitrogen-phosphorus detection was used in conjunction with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), which detected hundreds of NOCs in HTL-WW. Reference materials for nine of the most prevalent NOCs were used to identify and quantify their concentrations in HTL-WW. Mammalian cell cytotoxicity of the nine NOCs was quantified using a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell assay, and the descending rank order for cytotoxicity was 3-dimethylamino-phenol > 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidone > 2,6-dimethyl-3-pyridinol > 2-picoline > pyridine > 1-methyl-2- pyrrolidinone > σ-valerolactam > 2-pyrrolidinone > ε-caprolactam. The organic mixture extracted from HTL-WW expressed potent CHO cell cytotoxic activity, with a LC50 at 7.5% of HTL-WW. Although the toxicity of HTL-WW was substantial, 30% of the toxicity was removed biologically by recycling HTL-WW back into algal cultivation. The remaining toxicity of HTL-WW was mostly eliminated by subsequent treatment with granular activated carbon.",
author = "Mai Pham and Lance Schideman and John Scott and Nandakishore Rajagopalan and Plewa, {Michael J.}",
year = "2013",
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AU - Plewa,Michael J.

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