Development of an algal treatment system for Se removal: Effects of light regimes, nutrients, sulfate and hypersalinity

Fang Liu, Jung Chen Huang, Chuanqi Zhou, Shengbing He, Weili Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Selenium (Se) exposure poses potential risks to wildlife at the Salton Sea. Our previous research suggests Chlorella sp. be highly efficient at absorbing and volatilizing Se. In developing an algal treatment system for Se removal, this study further evaluated the performance under the conditions to be encountered in the field using Chlorella pyrenoidosa and Chlorella vulgaris. The results show the algal Se removal efficiency was little affected by photoperiod, yet volatilization became relatively greater in dark/light cycles over a longer term. The rates of Se absorption and volatilization by C. vulgaris were 88% and 77% more, respectively, in the DI water, while C. pyrenoidosa acted oppositely, indicating C. vulgaris will perform better in Se removal if nutrient levels are reduced in advance. The presence of sulfate reduced biomass Se, especially through volatilization, by 8% for C. vulgaris, lessening potential ecotoxicity. Finally, C. vulgaris released biomass Se back to the water column under hypersaline conditions, leading to a 6% increase in water Se concentrations. These results suggest C. vulgaris be the best alga for the treatment of Se laden river water in the Salton Sea area, yet a filtering system is required to prevent Se containing algae from entering food chains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • General Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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