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Growth and fatty acid production of microalga Selenastrum sp. with associated bacteria was studied in lab-scale experiments in three composting leachate liquids. Nutrient reduction in cultures was measured at different initial substrate strengths. A small, pilot-scale photobioreactor (PBR) was used to verify labscale results. Similar growth conditions supported growth of both Selenastrum and bacteria. CO2 feed enhanced the production of biomass and lipids in PBR (2.4 g L-1 and 17% DW) compared to lab-scale (0.1-1.6 g L-1 and 4.0-6.5% DW) experiments. Also prolonged cultivation time increased lipid content in PBR. At both scales, NH4-N with an initial concentration of ca. 40 mg L-1 was completely removed from the biowaste leachate. In lab-scale, maximal COD reduction was over 2000 mg L-1, indicating mixotrophic growth of Selenastrum. Co-cultures are efficient in composting leachate liquid treatment, and conversion of waste to biomass is a promising approach to improve the bioeconomy of composting plants. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.