DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Soil sealing by algae: An alternative to plastic pond liners for outdoor algal cultivation

Abstract

Commercial production of algal biofuels is currently limited by high capital costs, particularly costs of synthetic pond liners that minimize seepage of cultivation fluids, salts, and nutrients into the subsurface beneath outdoor algae cultivation facilities. Even some profitable nutraceutical companies bear the high costs of pond liners. However, studies of animal waste holding ponds and aquaculture facilities have shown that underlying soils can effectively “self-seal”, potentially eliminating the need for plastic liners. Here, we explored the potential for self-sealing with algae to provide an alternative to synthetic pond liners in unlined algae cultivation ponds. Laboratory-scale soil column experiments were used to investigate soil clogging by algae, a topic rarely discussed in the literature. Columns composed of fine sand, loamy sand, and loam soil displayed reductions in saturated hydraulic conductivity of the entire soil column of up to two orders of magnitude in response to infiltration by the alga Scenedesmus dimorphus suspended in algal culture nutrient solution at a density of 5 × 108 cells L–1. Scanning electron microscope imaging showed a dense algal layer on the surface of each soil column, thickly coating mineral grains with algal material and filling pore spaces. The algal coating was absent in samples atmore » >3 cm depth in the soil columns, and measurements of chlorophyll content also confirmed that algal cells were mostly confined to the soil surface. In this study, the application of an algal suspension contributed significantly to soil sealing. In conclusion, this new application of biological sealing technology should be studied further to determine its utility and durability as an alternative to plastic liners, perhaps in conjunction with soil compaction to achieve hydraulic conductivities beneath algal production ponds that are protective of groundwater quality.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [3];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1510592
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1637179
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725; WBS 1.3.1.500
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Algal Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 38; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2211-9264
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Pond liner; Soil sealing; Schmutzdecke layer; pore clogging; Infiltration; Hydraulic conductivity; Unlined ponds

Citation Formats

Pattullo, Molly B., Mayes, Melanie A., Mandal, Shovon, Mathews, Teresa J., Dunlap, John, Perfect, Edmund, McKay, Larry D., Nield, Emily V., and Efroymson, Rebecca An. Soil sealing by algae: An alternative to plastic pond liners for outdoor algal cultivation. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2019.101414.
Pattullo, Molly B., Mayes, Melanie A., Mandal, Shovon, Mathews, Teresa J., Dunlap, John, Perfect, Edmund, McKay, Larry D., Nield, Emily V., & Efroymson, Rebecca An. Soil sealing by algae: An alternative to plastic pond liners for outdoor algal cultivation. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2019.101414
Pattullo, Molly B., Mayes, Melanie A., Mandal, Shovon, Mathews, Teresa J., Dunlap, John, Perfect, Edmund, McKay, Larry D., Nield, Emily V., and Efroymson, Rebecca An. Tue . "Soil sealing by algae: An alternative to plastic pond liners for outdoor algal cultivation". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2019.101414. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1510592.
@article{osti_1510592,
title = {Soil sealing by algae: An alternative to plastic pond liners for outdoor algal cultivation},
author = {Pattullo, Molly B. and Mayes, Melanie A. and Mandal, Shovon and Mathews, Teresa J. and Dunlap, John and Perfect, Edmund and McKay, Larry D. and Nield, Emily V. and Efroymson, Rebecca An},
abstractNote = {Commercial production of algal biofuels is currently limited by high capital costs, particularly costs of synthetic pond liners that minimize seepage of cultivation fluids, salts, and nutrients into the subsurface beneath outdoor algae cultivation facilities. Even some profitable nutraceutical companies bear the high costs of pond liners. However, studies of animal waste holding ponds and aquaculture facilities have shown that underlying soils can effectively “self-seal”, potentially eliminating the need for plastic liners. Here, we explored the potential for self-sealing with algae to provide an alternative to synthetic pond liners in unlined algae cultivation ponds. Laboratory-scale soil column experiments were used to investigate soil clogging by algae, a topic rarely discussed in the literature. Columns composed of fine sand, loamy sand, and loam soil displayed reductions in saturated hydraulic conductivity of the entire soil column of up to two orders of magnitude in response to infiltration by the alga Scenedesmus dimorphus suspended in algal culture nutrient solution at a density of 5 × 108 cells L–1. Scanning electron microscope imaging showed a dense algal layer on the surface of each soil column, thickly coating mineral grains with algal material and filling pore spaces. The algal coating was absent in samples at >3 cm depth in the soil columns, and measurements of chlorophyll content also confirmed that algal cells were mostly confined to the soil surface. In this study, the application of an algal suspension contributed significantly to soil sealing. In conclusion, this new application of biological sealing technology should be studied further to determine its utility and durability as an alternative to plastic liners, perhaps in conjunction with soil compaction to achieve hydraulic conductivities beneath algal production ponds that are protective of groundwater quality.},
doi = {10.1016/j.algal.2019.101414},
journal = {Algal Research},
number = C,
volume = 38,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Autotrophic Microalgae Biomass Production: From Niche Markets to Commodities
journal, February 2018


Algal biofuels: impact significance and implications for EU multi-level governance
journal, June 2014


Biotechnology—a sustainable alternative for chemical industry
journal, November 2005


Biofuel production from microalgae as feedstock: current status and potential
journal, September 2013


Siting Algae Cultivation Facilities for Biofuel Production in the United States: Trade-Offs between Growth Rate, Site Constructability, Water Availability, and Infrastructure
journal, March 2014

  • Venteris, Erik R.; McBride, Robert C.; Coleman, Andre M.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 48, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1021/es4045488

Self-Sealing of Earthen Liquid Manure Storage Ponds: I. A Case Study
journal, October 1985


Self-Sealing of Earthen Liquid Manure Storage Ponds: II. Rate and Mechanism of Sealing
journal, October 1985


Bottom soil characteristics, survival and production of shrimp in low-salinity, inland ponds in Alabama and Florida (USA)
journal, December 2014

  • Chumnanka, Nattiya; Boyd, Claude E.; Viriyatum, Rawee
  • Journal of Soils and Sediments, Vol. 15, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11368-014-1039-5

Improving water-use efficiency for Ictalurid catfish pond aquaculture in Northwest Mississippi, USA
journal, September 2015

  • Tucker, Craig S.; Pote, Jonathan W.; Wax, Charles L.
  • Aquaculture Research, Vol. 48, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1111/are.12893

Water Content‐Density Criteria for Compacted Soil Liners
journal, December 1990


Environmental Impact and Mechanisms of the Biological Clogging of Saturated Soils and Aquifer Materials
journal, April 1998

  • Baveye, Philippe; Vandevivere, Philippe; Hoyle, Blythe L.
  • Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 28, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1080/10643389891254197

Particle transport through porous media
journal, December 1986

  • McDowell-Boyer, Laura M.; Hunt, James R.; Sitar, Nicholas
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 22, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1029/WR022i013p01901

Management of the Schmutzdecke Layer in a Slow Sand Filter to Reuse Drainage Water from a Greenhouse
journal, May 2014


Schmutzdecke Characterization of Clinoptilolite-Amended Slow Sand Filtration
journal, December 1987


The effect of microorganisms, salinity and turbidity on hydraulic conductivity of irrigation channel soil
journal, December 1994

  • Ragusa, S. R.; de Zoysa, D. S.; Rengasamy, P.
  • Irrigation Science, Vol. 15, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1007/BF00193683

Linking Sediment Biofilms, Hydrodynamics, and River Bed Clogging: Evidence from a Large River
journal, April 1999


Coupling hydraulic and biological measurements highlights the key influence of algal biofilm on infiltration basin performance: INFLUENCE OF ALGAL BIOFILM ON INFILTRATION BASIN PERFORMANCE
journal, August 2013

  • Gette-Bouvarot, Morgane; Mermillod-Blondin, Florian; Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael
  • Ecohydrology, Vol. 7, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1002/eco.1421

An inter-laboratory comparison of ten different ways of measuring soil microbial biomass C
journal, July 1997


An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass C
journal, January 1987


System and method for research-scale outdoor production of microalgae and cyanobacteria
journal, August 2014


Clogging microstructures in the vadose zone—laboratory and field studies
journal, March 2006


Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity Reduction Caused by Aerobic Bacteria in Sand Columns
journal, January 1992


Clogging processes caused by biofilm growth and organic particle accumulation in lab-scale vertical flow constructed wetlands
journal, January 2009


Effect of Microorganisms on Permeability of soil Under Prolonged Submergence
journal, January 1947


Laboratory assessment of factors affecting soil clogging of soil aquifer treatment systems
journal, May 2011


Hectare-scale demonstration of high rate algal ponds for enhanced wastewater treatment and biofuel production
journal, February 2012

  • Craggs, Rupert; Sutherland, Donna; Campbell, Helena
  • Journal of Applied Phycology, Vol. 24, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10811-012-9810-8

Economic construction and operation of hectare-scale wastewater treatment enhanced pond systems
journal, July 2015

  • Craggs, Rupert; Park, Jason; Sutherland, Donna
  • Journal of Applied Phycology, Vol. 27, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10811-015-0658-6