Microalgae-based wastewater treatment for nutrients recovery: A review

Bioresour Technol. 2019 Nov:291:121934. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2019.121934. Epub 2019 Jul 31.


The water resource crisis and concerns with environmental pollution are pushing for upgrading of conventional wastewater treatment process. Microalgae-based wastewater treatment process has shown many advantages that can meet the new demand for improved wastewater treatment. However, considering the issues related to the complexity of wastewater characteristics and adaptability of microalgae species, and the challenges to the design and optimization of treatment processes in order to achieve higher removal efficiencies with lower costs, further exploration and research are still needed. This review provides an overview of microalgae strains commonly used for wastewater treatment, physical and chemical properties of various wastewaters and their suitability for algae cultivation, factors affecting algae growth, nutrient assimilation/removal and biomass productivity. The design and operation of microalgae-based wastewater treatment processes are also discussed. Moreover, the issues and limitations of microalgae-based wastewater treatment are also discussed and suggestions are proposed for the further research and development.

Keywords: Biomass production; Microalgae cultivation; Nutrients recovery; Wastewater treatment; Water reuse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Microalgae*
  • Nutrients
  • Wastewater*


  • Waste Water