Nutrient recovery from ethanol co-products by a novel mycoalgae biofilm: attached cultures of symbiotic fungi and algae

Aravindan Rajendran, Tyler Fox, Bo Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Fungal and algae treatment of food-industry waste opens a new avenue for valorizing waste to valuable products through the production of desirable cell biomass. A novel mycoalgae biofilm (symbiotic growth of algae and fungi) was developed in ethanol co-products, the profuse remains from the ethanol distillation process. RESULTS: The mycoalgae biofilm flasks produced more biomass compared with pure fungal cultures under all the conditions tested. The total microbial biomass concentration in mycoalgae biofilm increased from 5.998 g L−1 at 4 d (98.81% fungal biomass and 1.19% algae biomass) to 9.358 g L−1 at 12 d (97.2% fungal biomass and 2.8% algae biomass) with a drop in attached residual solids from 6.304 g L−1 at 4 d to 3.349 g L−1 at 12 d in 10× condensed distillers solubles medium. The high nutrient concentration of P (818 mg L−1) and N (924 mg L−1) in the samples was recovered in the attached mycoalgae biomass at 55.7% and 74%, respectively, with a reduction in COD of up to 65.6%. CONCLUSION: The results show that ethanol co-products support excellent mycoalgae biofilm growth. The nutrients in ethanol co-products can be efficiently recovered and recycled for agricultural applications and better nutrient management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1766-1776
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully thank the University of Minnesota, Biotechnology institute-synthetic ecology program for the support to develop pelletized microalgae cultivation via attraction between microalgae and fungal cells. Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR)-Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Minnesota is providing funding support for developing the Mycoalgae biofilm technology for environmental applications. The authors thank Dr Nicholas Hahn, Jr Scientist, Biotechnology Resource Center - Biotechnology Institute for HPLC analysis of some samples and Tanner Barnharst for proofreading the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society of Chemical Industry


  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Mucor circinelloides
  • condensed distillers soluble (CDS)
  • ethanol co-products
  • mycoalgae biofilm


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrient recovery from ethanol co-products by a novel mycoalgae biofilm: attached cultures of symbiotic fungi and algae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this