Author(s): Tenney MW, Echelberger WF Jr, Schuessler RG, Pavoni JL
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Abstract The feasibility of removing algae from water and wastewater by chemical flocculation techniques was investigated. Mixed cultures of algae were obtained from both continuous- and batch-fed laboratory reactors. Representative cationic, anionic, and nonionic synthetic organic polyelectrolytes were used as flocculants. Under the experimental conditions, chemically induced algal flocculation occurred with the addition of cationic polyelectrolyte, but not with anionic or nonionic polymers, although attachment of all polyelectrolyte species to the algal surface is shown. The mechanism of chemically induced algal flocculation is interpreted in terms of bridging phenomena between the discrete algal cells and the linearly extended polymer chains, forming a three-dimensional matrix that is capable of subsiding under quiescent conditions. The degree of flocculation is shown to be a direct function of the extent of polymer coverage of the active sites on the algal surface, although to induce flocculation by this method requires that the algal surface charge must concurrently be reduced to a level at which the extended polymers can bridge the minimal distance of separation imposed by electrostatic repulsion. The influence of pH, algal concentration, and algal growth phase on the requisite cationic flocculant dose is also reported.
This article was published in Appl Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications