Current Progress, Challenges and Perspectives in the Microalgal-Bacterial Aerobic Granular Sludge Process: A Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Oct 27;19(21):13950. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192113950.


Traditional wastewater treatment technologies have become increasingly inefficient to meet the needs of low-consumption and sustainable wastewater treatment. Researchers are committed to seeking new wastewater treatment technologies, to reduce the pressure on the environment caused by resource shortages. Recently, a microalgal-bacterial granular sludge (MBGS) technology has attracted widespread attention due to its high efficiency wastewater treatment capacity, low energy consumption, low CO2 emissions, potentially high added values, and resource recovery capabilities. This review focused primarily on the following aspects of microalgal-bacterial granular sludge technology: (1) MBGS culture and maintenance operating parameters, (2) MBGS application in different wastewaters, (3) MBGS additional products: biofuels and bioproducts, (4) MBGS energy saving and consumption reduction: greenhouse gas emission reduction, and (5) challenges and prospects. The information in this review will help us better understand the current progress and future direction of the MBGS technology development. It is expected that this review will provide a sound theoretical basis for the practical applications of a MBGS technology in environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment, resource recovery, and system optimization.

Keywords: environmental sustainability; microalgal-bacterial granular sludge; resource recovery; wastewater treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Bioreactors
  • Microalgae*
  • Sewage / microbiology
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid
  • Wastewater
  • Water Purification*


  • Sewage
  • Waste Water

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Key R&D Program of Hunan Provincial Science and Technology Department (2019SK2191), the Science and Technology Program of Guangdong Forestry Administration (2020−KYXM−08), the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2017ZX07101003), National Key Research and Development Project (2019YFC1804800), and Pearl River S&T Nova Program of Guangzhou, China (No. 201710010065).