Algal Biofilm Based Technology for Wastewater Treatment

Kesaano, M. and Sims, R.C.

Algal Research

Widespread application of algal biofilm-based systems in wastewater treatment has been limited despite the potential benefits of a low cost nutrient removal option and a source of biomass for bioproduct production. The performance and processes involved with algal biofilm-based systems in wastewater treatment are not adequately addressed in the available literature, which hinders design and scale up of effective systems for applications to municipal, industrial, and agricultural waste streams. A critical review is presented, which examines nutrient removal trends, biomass productivity, growth requirements, and challenges for algal biofilm-based biotechnology as applied to wastewater treatment both at bench scale and at pilot scale operations. Information on algal biofilms in natural environments derived from ecology and limnology disciplines was utilized in areas of limited research with regard to wastewater treatment. This critical review identified key areas that need to be addressed for designing, building, and testing algal biofilm-based technologies that integrate both nutrient removal from wastewater and enhanced biomass production to improve the performance of engineered systems. The review identifies the need for research on factors that affect algal growth, mass transport, species selection, algal–bacterial interactions, and validation of laboratory research in field scale tests for the development of an algal biofilm based technology platform for integrating wastewater treatment and biomass production.


Kesaano, M. & Sims, R. C. Algal biofilm based technology for wastewater treatment. Algal Res. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2014.02.003

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