Discover the Editor's Choice: From each issue of the leading journal Water Science & Technology the core team of editors select one outstanding paper to share across IWA Publishing platforms. 

IWA Publishing is pleased to announce that the 42nd Editor's Choice Paper, chosen by Faisal Hai, is now Open Access: 

Microalgae cultivation using undiluted anaerobic digestate by introducing aerobic nitrification–desulfurization treatment

Mutsumi Sekine, Akari Yoshida, Shinichi Akizuki, Masatoshi Kishi and Tatsuki Toda

Why was this paper chosen?

This study demonstrates proof of concept of coupling biogas desulfurization and effluent nutrients removal after anaerobic digestion (AD) using integrated aerobic bacterial reactor and microalgal reactor. The interest in commercialisation of microalgal products for purposes such as animal feeds, dietary supplements, and cosmetics is ever increasing. Anaerobic digestion effluent (ADE) contains a high concentration of nutrients suitable for microalgal growth. However, ADE also contains ammonia that is toxic to microalgae and needs to be reduced before using ADE for algal cultivation. Furthermore, the biogas generated via the AD process needs to be desulfurized before harvesting it as an energy source. The concept of cultivating microalgae using undiluted ADE – that has been treated by a bacterial nitrification/desulfurization process using the oxygen produced by the algae itself – which has been nicely presented by schematics and a clear description. The experimental methods are well explained and the data well described, compared with existing literature and critically discussed. Of particular interest is the section on future prospects of the proposed coupling process. While the approach still needs to be refined and investigated further for scale up, the reason I have chosen this paper is it communicates clearly an innovative solution which would potentially reduce environmental burden, facilitate commercialisation of value added microalgal products and make way for safe harvesting of bioenergy. 

Faisal Hai, Editor.

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