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Removal of Nutrients and Pesticides from Agricultural Runoff Using Microalgae and Cyanobacteria

Castellanos-Estupiñan, Miguel A.; Carrillo-Botello, Astrid M.; Rozo-Granados, Linell S.; Becerra-Moreno, Dorance; García-Martínez, Janet B.; Urbina-Suarez, Néstor A.; López-Barrera, Germán L.; Barajas-Solano, Andrés F.; Bryan, Samantha J.; Zuorro, Antonio

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Miguel A. Castellanos-Estupiñan

Astrid M. Carrillo-Botello

Linell S. Rozo-Granados

Dorance Becerra-Moreno

Janet B. García-Martínez

Néstor A. Urbina-Suarez

Germán L. López-Barrera

Andrés F. Barajas-Solano

Antonio Zuorro



The use of pesticides in agriculture has ensured the production of different crops. However, pesticides have become an emerging public health problem for Latin American countries due to their excessive use, inadequate application, toxic characteristics, and minimal residue control. The current project evaluates the ability of two strains of algae (Chlorella and Scenedesmus sp.) and one cyanobacteria (Hapalosyphon sp.) to remove excess pesticides and other nutrients present in runoff water from rice production. Different concentrations of wastewater and carbon sources (Na2CO3 and NaHCO3 ) were evaluated. According to the results, all three strains can be grown in wastewater without dilution (100%), with a biomass concentration comparable to a synthetic medium. All three strains significantly reduced the concentration of NO3 and PO4 (95 and 85%, respectively), with no difference between Na2CO3 or NaHCO3 . Finally, Chlorella sp. obtained the highest removal efficiency of the pesticide (Chlorpyrifos), followed by Scenedesmus and Hapalosyphon sp. (100, 75, and 50%, respectively). This work shows that it is possible to use this type of waste as an alternative source of nutrients to obtain biomass and metabolites of interest, such as lipids and carbohydrates, to produce biofuels.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 12, 2022
Publication Date Feb 1, 2022
Deposit Date May 3, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 10, 2023
Journal Water
Electronic ISSN 2073-4441
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 4
Article Number 558
Series Title Wastewater Bio-Ecological Treatment
Keywords Water Science and Technology; Aquatic Science; Geography, Planning and Development; Biochemistry
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