Nitrate Removal from Groundwater Using Immobilized Heterotrophic Algae

Sara Mollamohammada, Ashraf Aly Hassan, Mohamed Dahab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The treatment efficiency of Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus species, immobilized in sodium alginate, was evaluated for removing nitrate from groundwater. The experiments were performed initially in batch mode and the best-performing conditions were replicated in sequencing batch reactor mode. S. sp. showed a higher nitrate uptake in short term than C. sorokiniana. Immobilized S. sp. and C. sorokiniana cells showed 90% nitrate removal in 9 and 12 days, respectively. The optimal ratio of algal beads/water was found to be 12.5% (v:v). Comparatively, suspended S. sp. cells were able to remove only up to 35% of nitrate in 8 days. Alginate immobilized S. sp. beads were capable of uptaking nitrate for 100 consecutive days in sequencing batch reactor mode. When tested in actual groundwater, 90% of nitrate was eliminated in 2 days without need for any additional carbon source. Immobilized algal beads can be a low-cost alternative technique to remove nitrate from groundwater as they are water-insoluble, non-toxic, easy to harvest, and offer high removal efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Biological nitrate treatment
  • Chlorella sorokiniana
  • Nitrate removal, nitrogen, heterotrophic growth
  • Scenedesmus species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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