Phycoremediation of wastewaters: a synergistic approach using microalgae for bioremediation and biomass generation

  • N. Renuka
  • A. Sood
  • R. Prasanna
  • A. S. Ahluwalia


Discharge of untreated domestic and industrial wastewater into aquatic bodies is posing a serious eutrophication threat, leading to a slow degradation of the water resources. A number of physical, chemical and biological methods have been developed for the treatment of wastewaters; among these, the use of microalgae is considered as a more eco-friendly and economical approaches. Microalgae are versatile organisms which perform multiple roles in the environment—bioremediation of wastewater, gleaning of excess nutrients and in turn, generate valuable biomass which finds applications in the food, biofuel and pharmaceutical industries. They are currently being utilized to reduce the high nutrient load (especially N and P) from wastewaters, which fulfill the growth requirements of microalgae, making it a suitable cultivation medium for biomass production. The present review represents a comprehensive compilation of reports on microalgal diversity of wastewaters, followed by a critical overview of their utilization, suitability and potential in bioremediation vis-a-vis biomass production. This review also emphasizes the superiority of polyalgal and consortial approaches in wastewater treatment, as compared to the use of unialgal inocula, besides providing useful pointers for future research needs in this area.


Wastewater Eutrophication Microalgal diversity Consortia Nutrient removal Biomass production 



The first author is thankful to the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi for her fellowship under UGC Reference No. F.151/2007(BSR) Dated 23/03/2011. All the authors are thankful to Chairman, Department of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh and Division of Microbiology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi for providing the research facilities to carry out the present investigations.



World Health Organization


Central Pollution Control Board


Wastewater Treatment plant


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Renuka
    • 1
  • A. Sood
    • 2
  • R. Prasanna
    • 2
  • A. S. Ahluwalia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Division of MicrobiologyIndian Agricultural Research InstituteNew DelhiIndia

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