Study of polyacrylamide grafted starch based algal flocculation towards applications in algal biomass harvesting
Microalgae may be the source of high amount of lipid and protein. It has the property for carbon dioxide sequestration, recycling and also can remove pollutants from wastewater. Using traditional methods, collection of algal biomass is either cost effective, time consuming or may be toxic due to use of chemical salts. The aim of this study is to harvest freshwater microalgae (Chlorella sp. CB4) biomass by using polymer. Polyacrylamide grafted starch (St-g-PAM) has been synthesized by microwave assisted method involving a synergism of microwave radiation and ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN) to initiate the grafting reaction. The synthesis was optimized in terms of CAN and monomer (acrylamide) concentration. The algal flocculation efficacy of all the grades of this graft copolymer was studied through standard ‘Jar test’ procedure. Effects of percentage grafting, pH and zeta potential on percentage recovery of algal biomass were thoroughly investigated.