Productivity and Biodiesel Quality of Fatty Acids Contents from Scenedesmus obliquus in Domestic Wastewater Using Phototrophic and Mixotrophic Cultivation Systems

Alejandro Ruiz-Marin1, *, Yunuen Canedo-López1, Asteria Narvaez-García1, Juan Carlos Robles-Heredia1, Jose del Carmen Zavala-Loria2
1 Faculty of Chemical Engineering, University Autónoma de Ciudad del Carmen, Concordia, 24180 Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, México
2 Department of Industrial Engineering, University International Hiberoamericana, IMI III, Mexico

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© 2018 Ruiz-Marin et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering, University Autónoma de Ciudad del Carmen, Street 56 #4 x Av. Concordia, 24180 Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, México; Tel: E-mail:



Microalgae remove nutrients from wastewater with the possibility of grow in mixotrophic and heterotrophic cultures. However, the effluent quality can modify the profile of fatty acids and biodiesel quality.


Phototrophic and mixotrophic (light / dark; 12/12 h) cultures of Scenedesmus obliquus on domestic wastewater (WW) and Artificial Wastewater (AW) was carried out to evaluate the lipid accumulation and fatty acid methyl esters profile. The microalgae was first cultivated in an enriched medium (90 mg N-NH4 L-1) and subsequently under nitrogen limitation (30, 20 and 10 mg N L-1) using a two-stage process for both culture media.


A higher cell density in enriched AW medium was obtained in phototrophic and mixotrophic culture of 19 x 106 cell mL-1 and 20 x 106 cell mL-1, respectively; than for WW (13 x 106 cell mL-1 and 14 x 106 cell mL-1, respectively). The nitrogen limitation (from 90 to 20 mg N L-1) for AW increased the lipid content by 5.0% and 17.28% under phototrophic and mixotrophic conditions, respectively and only 5% for WW in mixotrophic culture.


The high Cetane Number (CN) show a positive correlation with high Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA) content and negative correlation with the Degree of Saturation (DU), suggesting a good ignition of fuel. The Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP) (-6.02 to -8.45 °C) and Oxidative Stability (OS) (3.53 - 6.6 h) propose to Scenedesmus obliquus as a candidate in the production of biodiesel and potential application for an integral urban wastewater treatment system.

Keywords: Scenedesmus obliquus, Autotrophic, Mixotrophic, Domestic wastewater, Lipids, Biodiesel quality.