The efficiency of seven microalgal species, namely, Chlamydomonas sp., Chlorella miniata, Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus platydiscus, Scenedesmus quadricauda, Selenastrum capricornutum, and Synechosystis sp. to remove pyrene from solution varied from species to species. According to the 6-hour, 12-hour, and 7-day exposure data, S. capricornutum was the most efficient species in the removal of pyrene, followed by S. platydiscus (a local isolate), and the least effective species was C. vulgaris. For all species, the removal was very rapid in the first 3 to 6 hours of treatment, and no significant difference was found between live and dead cells of C. miniata, C. vulgaris and S. capricornutum, indicating that the initial removal was due to passive physico-chemical biosorption. More than 65% of the pyrene adsorbed was bound on cell wall materials of S. capricornutum, suggesting the major binding sites were on cell walls. The pyrene removal was also dependent on the concentration of algal biomass used, the more the biomass the higher the removal percentages. In addition to biosorption, pyrene was accumulated and transformed inside live cells. In 7-day S. capricornutum culture, pyrene was not detected in either culture medium or algal pellets, and pyrene might have been completely transformed by this species. The degree of bioaccumulation and biotransformation was species specific.

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