Unprecedented biodesalination rates–Shortcomings of electrical conductivity measurements in determining salt removal by algae and cyanobacteria

Abdul Mannan Zafar, Muhammad Asad Javed, Ashraf Aly Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phormidium keutzingianum performed biodesalination of brackish water (10 g/L). The electrical conductivity (EC) was measured to evaluate the salt concentration over 80 days of cyanobacterial inoculation. Anion concentrations were measured using ion chromatography to estimate salt removal. EC-based measurements showed ∼8–10% removal efficiency in the first 20 days. However, the removal efficiency based on chloride ion concentration showed ∼40% removal in the same time frame. The pH increase was observed with growth of algal biomass. The increasing pH proposes the formation of hydroxyl and carbonate ions. Sulfuric acid was added at day 110 to neutralize them. At pH 4, the EC reduced significantly to about ∼37% confirming the chloride removal. EC should not be used to measure salt reduction as it is an obscure parameter, and therefore, EC is not the best choice to measure salinity removal using algae. Some recently published studies used only EC to estimate biodesalination, and it is anticipated that salt removal is misrepresented in those studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113947
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2022

Keywords

  • Biodesalination
  • Brackish water
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Halotolerant algae
  • Phormidium keutzingianum
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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