Agro-industries of Western NY contributes to the US economy in diverse ways. Among these are dairy, poultry, cheese, tofu and Greek Yogurt plants whose processes discharge effluents high in pollutants such as NH3, PO4, NO3, and Fe which adversely affect aquatic systems and the watershed if discharged untreated. Waste hauling causes an economic burden to industries as WWTPs remain restrictive to these effluents, but Algae Remediation Technology provides a sustainable alternative to treating agricultural wastewaters onsite. This study sampled, assessed and treated effluents from selected production plants within NY State with various algae. The research applied free suspended Algae technology to treat food-based waste waters that have pollutant levels exceeding USEPA limits. While Botyroccocus sp and Chlorella sp reduced 99% of NO3 from Synergy’s dairy and bio digester effluents within 5 days residence time, all algae species removed 75% of phosphorus within 5 days Residence Time (RT). Nostoc sp removed 98% NO3 from Kreher farm’s Egg wash effluents but moderately removed PO4 within 6 days RT while Anabaena and Chlorella sp impressively removed 90% PO4 and over 90% NO3 within an average of 3 and 12-days RT respectively. Tofu, cheese, and Greek yogurt whey all achieved bioremediation targets in less than 15 days RT. Post-treatment biomass harvested contained triglycerides and FFA fraction. Ultrasonication did not influence lipids, glucose and methane yields. Chlorella sp showed an avg 27g/L sugar yield compared to coffee and other algae biomass which yielded only avg 10g/L sugars. Lipid or lipid-sugar extractions from biomass increased Bio methane potential (BMP) by 1 and 5-fold respectively to 10ml meth/gVS and 25ml meth/g VS. Analysis and results indicate that algae are effective at reducing pollutants in agro-industrial effluents while producing high quality biomass for bioenergy purpose.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Microalgae--Biotechnology; Biomass energy; Agricultural industries--Environmental aspects--New York (State), Western; Sewage--Purification

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Environmental Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


Jeffrey Lodge

Advisor/Committee Member

Ali Ogut

Advisor/Committee Member

Karl Korfmacher


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes