The synergistic activity of algae and prokaryotic microorganisms can be used to improve the efficiency of biological wastewater treatment, particularly with regards to nitrogen removal. For example, algae can provide oxygen through photosynthesis needed for aerobic degradation of organic carbon and nitrification and harvested algal-prokaryotic biomass can be used to produce high value chemicals or biogas. Algal-prokaryotic consortia have been used to treat wastewater in different types of reactors, including waste stabilization ponds, high rate algal ponds and closed photobioreactors. This review addresses the current literature and identifies research gaps related to the following topics: 1) the complex interactions between algae and prokaryotes in wastewater treatment; 2) advances in bioreactor technologies that can achieve high nitrogen removal efficiencies in small reactor volumes, such as algal-prokaryotic biofilm reactors and enhanced algal-prokaryotic treatment systems (EAPS); 3) molecular tools that have expanded our understanding of the activities of algal and prokaryotic communities in wastewater treatment processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law