In a global scenario of increasing energy prices and quest for sustainable human activities, wastewater treatment in the 21st century must undergo a dramatic revision of its current practices. These must aim at developing a new generation of energy-efficient and resource-recovery processes, whilst complying with the ever-stricter environmental regulations.

Wastewater treatment using photosynthetic microorganisms can benefit from the knowledge coming from the use of algae to produce biofuels, food supplements or green pharmaceuticals and of microbial physiology of purple photosynthetic bacteria. Likewise, wastewater as a cheap source of nutrients and inorganic carbon is promising for the mass production of algae-based commodities. This technology platform is driven by solar energy and supported by complex interactions among microalgae, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria, which exert multiple synergistic and antagonistics effects during wastewater treatment. Overall, microalgae-based treatment systems may reduce wastewater treatment costs via recovery of its inherent material...

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