Seawater biodesalination treatment using Phormidium keutzingianum in attached growth-packed bed continuous flow stirred tank reactor

Abdul Mannan Zafar, Ashraf Aly Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Water scarcity is increasing worldwide due to rising population which is creating opportunities to unlock alternative green desalination techniques for seawater, such as biodesalination. Therefore, this study presents the utilization of the Phormidium keutzingianum strain in an attached growth-packed bed reactor to treat seawater in real-time in a continuous-flow stirred tank reactor for biodesalination. Two reactors were designed and developed, in which zeolites were used as the support media for the attached growth. The experiment was conducted in an open outdoor environment with a continuous air flow rate of 3 mL/min and two hydraulic retention times (HRT) of 7 and 15 d. Parameters such as the pH, chloride ion concentration, total organic carbon (TOC), and optical density were monitored regularly. The pH change was not significant in either reactor and remained within the range of 7.25–8.0. Chloride ion removal was the most crucial component of biodesalination efficiency, with d 7 removal efficiencies of approximately 40% and 32% for reactors 1 and 2, respectively. Reactor 1 exhibited a TOC reduction of 36% within the first 10 d at a HRT of 7, and when the HRT was set to 15 d, a TOC removal efficiency of 89% was achieved on d 53. For reactor 2, a TOC removal efficiency of approximately 81% was achieved on d 11 at HRT 7, and it reduced to less than 50% at an HRT of 15. The chloride ion and TOC removal phenomena were similar in both reactors. The optical density (OD) showed low measurement recordings, ranging from 0.005 to 0.01, indicating low cell detachment in the seawater effluent. Therefore, using the attached growth method for the biodesalination of seawater is feasible. Furthermore, biomass harvesting in attached growth systems is easier than that in suspension growth systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116784
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2023


  • Attached-growth
  • Biodesalination
  • Continuous flow stirred tank reactor
  • Microalgae
  • Salt reduction
  • Seawater desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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