This study investigated the impacts of selective sole carbon source-induced micropollutants (MPs) cometabolism of Chlorella sp. by: (i) extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), superoxide dismutase and peroxidase enzyme production; (ii) MPs removal efficiency and cometabolism rate; (iii) MPs’ potential degradation products identification; and (iv) degradation pathways and validation using the Eawag database to differentiate the cometabolism of Chlorella sp. with other microbes. Adding the sole carbon sources in the presence of MPs increased EPS and enzyme concentrations from 2 to 100-fold in comparison with only sole carbon sources. This confirmed that MPs cometabolism had occurred. The removal efficiencies of tetracycline, sulfamethoxazole, and bisphenol A ranged from 16 to 99%, 32–92%, and 58–99%, respectively. By increasing EPS and enzyme activity, the MPs concentrations accumulated in microalgae cells also fell 400-fold. The cometabolism process resulted in several degradation products of MPs. This study drew an insightful understanding of cometabolism for MPs remediation in wastewater. Based on the results, proper carbon sources for microalgae can be selected for practical applications to remediate MPs in wastewater while simultaneously recovering biomass for several industries and gaining revenue.
- Extracellular polymeric substance