9-23: Phosphorus removal and biological fertilizer production via phosphorus accumulating fungus

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Napoleon Ballroom C-D, 3rd fl (Sheraton New Orleans)
Yulin Ye, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Sait Paul, MN and Bo Hu, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN
High quality phosphorus rock is predicted to be depleted in 50 to 100 years under current rate of excavation and the rising demands for food production boosts the price of phosphorus fertilizer.  Meanwhile, phosphorus content of municipal and agricultural wastewater needs to be reduced to avoid the eutrophication, which causes significant environmental concerns.  

Polyphosphate is a candidate for renewable phosphorus fertilizer. Many microorganisms are reported to synthesize and store polyphosphate in the cells as phosphorus reserve and energy resource. While bacteria are well studied in polyphosphate accumulation and widely implemented in P removal process in wastewater treatment plants, Fungi are less investigated and their ability to accumulate intracellular polyphosphate is rarely reported. Compared with bacteria, filamentous fungi have the advantage of being easy to harvest and thus show promise in phosphorus recovery. In this study, several filamentous fungus species are evaluated for their potential in polyphosphate accumulation. Besides, the optimal conditions of polyphosphate accumulation are investigated. This research provides a new possibility of P removal & recovery. The phosphorus recovered in the form of polyphosphate, which has high purity and P density, can be transported to P deficient area with relatively low cost, providing a solution to the problem of P fertilizer industry.

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