Recently the demand for rare earth elements (REEs) has been rapidly increased for automobiles, electronics, microscopes, computers and portable electronic equipment, and the future use of REEs is expected to increase significantly. Consequently, the release of these elements into the environment will rise in parallel. The waste footprint and environmental impacts related to REE mining, processing, storage and transport are significant especially to surface and ground water qualities. Therefore, REEs recovery from industrial wastewater is important not only in view of environmental issues, but also on the technological aspects i.e. sustainability of supply by recycling. Algae cultivation has been widely applied for CO2-biofixation and wastewater treatment. However, very few studies addressed the relationship between Algae and REEs. Algae have interesting relationships with REEs, and their affinity for these metals may represent a serious environmental threat as well as an attractive opportunity worthy of further investigation. To the best of my knowledge, no studies to date have investigated in situ whether REEs stimulate algal growth and/or lipid production. Therefore, the main objectives of the current research plan are to investigate and evaluate the influence of the REEs on the algal growth and lipid production, and also to use the produced algal biomass for REEs recovery from industrial wastewater.
1. In this project the impact of the REE on the cultivation of both cyanobacteria and diatom strains was investigated using primary wastewater as a cultivation medium and under different REE concentrations.
2. I gave a lecture to the students of the Faculty of Science, University of Hyogo. The title of the lecture was "Impacts of Atmospheric Pollution on Ecosystem" (attached photo).
3. I gave a talk in English to the children of a kindergarten "Nishikurisu Kodomoen".
4. I gave a lecture to the students of Harima-kogen Higashi Elementary School.
5. I gave a talk on my research at the Faculty of Science, University of Hyogo. The title was "Algae Bioremediation of Heavy Metal: Current, Challenges and Perspective".
It was found that the effect of REE to the growth of cyanobacteria and diatom highly depend on the REE concentration. The number of reports on such kind of research is very limited. After evaluation of the effect of REE on the photosynthetic performance, the results will be submitted to the scientific journal. Based on the research conducted during this stay, novel technology to recover REEs from industrial wastewater.
It was my first experience and great pleasure to have a lecture at an elementary school.