Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Purple Phototrophic Bacteria for Nutrient Recovery

By Dr Tim Huelsen

Anoxygenic purple phototrophic bacteria (PPB) are an emerging biological mediator for resource recovery from various wastewaters, particularly agri-industrial streams. PPB are preeminent photoheterotrophs and can be applied for primary treatment.  Under anaerobic, irradiated conditions, PPB simultaneously remove organics, nitrogen and phosphorous. At the same time, PPB biomass with a consistent crude protein content (>60%), at biomass yields close to unity, can be generated. Bulk substitution of fishmeal with PPB biomass has been successfully tested, which potentially adds value to the biomass. However, there are currently no full-scale installations. The vast majority of work has been done in controlled laboratory environments with artificial light supply and axenic cultures. While this extended the potential applications and has led to a crucial knowledge base, the technology is still in its infancy. To advance PPB based resource recovery, systems have to move outdoors to cost effectively generate biomass and treat wastewater. As experienced with other photosynthetic organisms (e.g. microalgae), upscaling and outdoor operation adds several hurdles that affect the overall feasibility. These include environmental (sun, temperature), biological (selection and predation) as well as economic factors (harvesting and capital costs). Some of these aspects can be addressed by applying PPB biofilm growth systems.

AWMC hosts a free seminar every Friday from 9am.

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 23 August 2019
9am - 10am
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room

Event Contact: