Flocculation of microalgae in brackish and sea waters

A. Sukenik, D. Bilanovic, G. Shelef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Flocculation is an essential step in the concentration and harvesting of microalgae from aquatic media. Salinity of brackish water and sea water requires high flocculant dosages and renders flocculation less effective than in freshwater algal media. Experiments with the marine microalgae Isochrysis galbana and Chlorella stigmatophora showed that effective alum or ferric chloride flocculation was obtained only with dosages which are 5 to 10 times higher than the dosages required for the flocculation of freshwater microalgae. The flocculant dosages required for removing over 90% of the algae from suspensions were found to increase linearly with salinity as expressed in ionic strength. High salinity was found to inhibit flocculation with polyelectrolytes which are quite effective in freshwater algae flocculation. This inhibition was diminished at reduced salinity levels and effective flocculation was attained at salinity levels of 5 g/liter and below, which is typical of desert brackish water. Two methods were found to induce flocculation in sea water: (a) combining polyelectrolytes with inorganic flocculants such as ferric chloride or alum, and (b) ozone oxidation pretreatment followed by flocculation with inorganic flocculants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorella stigmatophora
  • Isochrysis galbana
  • Microalgae
  • flocculation
  • harvesting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)


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