Microalgae hold great promise as environmentally sustainable sources of food, animal feed, and fuel. However, large amounts of water are used during microalgae cultivation and this negatively impacts economic viability and environmental sustainability. Reusing cultivation water can reduce the direct impacts of water usage and also reduce nutrient requirements and algal wastewater treatment. However, studies have shown that algae growth in reused water can be compromised, unaffected, or sometimes enhanced compared to controls. This review examines recent studies on water reuse to qualitatively understand these varied effects. Growth inhibitors and stimulators in reused water and their underlying mechanisms are discussed, as well as recent pre-treatment technologies and factors affecting the quality of reused water, such as microalgae taxa, culture conditions, and harvesting methods, are considered. A scheme is proposed for water reuse and harvesting methods based on the desired algal end products. Taking these findings together, here we provide recommendations for further research directions as well as new insights into designing and integrating a cultivation strategy with a harvesting platform to reuse water for more efficient microalgae cultivation.
Lu Z, Loftus S, Sha J, Wang W, Park MS, Zhang X, Johnson ZI, Hu Q (2020). Water reuse for sustainable microalgae cultivation: Current knowledge and future directions. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 161: 104975. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.104975