Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Microalgae Wastewater Treatment: A Brief History

Version 1 : Received: 27 December 2019 / Approved: 29 December 2019 / Online: 29 December 2019 (09:34:40 CET)

How to cite: Paddock, M. Microalgae Wastewater Treatment: A Brief History. Preprints 2019, 2019120377. Paddock, M. Microalgae Wastewater Treatment: A Brief History. Preprints 2019, 2019120377.


Microalgae wastewater treatment has long been promoted as a sustainable method to handle the influx of human waste due to population growth. Initially, in the early 1900’s, microalgae was noted to increase wastewater treatment efficiency by aerating the water and consuming waste. By mid-century, wastewater grown microalgae was being investigated as a way to produce biomass for food, fuel, and other biomaterials. The space race in the 1960’s led to the use of microalgae in life support systems. Technological developments and political pressure in the 1970’s spurred studies of the impact of wastewater on the growth of phytoplankton in the oceans as well as methods to use microalgae wastewater treatment in aquaculture. Simultaneously, the oil crisis of that decade promoted research of alternative fuels, which included microalgae biofuels via the Aquatic Species Program. This program led to research into the use of wastewater as a feedstock for microalgae growth. By the later 2000’s, instability in the oil market caused another energy crisis which further prompted investment in microalgae biofuels, some of which involved combined wastewater treatment. Currently, microalgae wastewater treatment is being researched as a way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming and produce sustainable biofuels.


algae; wastewater; microalgae; biofuels; phytoplankton; aquaculture; phycology


Biology and Life Sciences, Immunology and Microbiology

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