Advances, challenges, and prospects in microalgal-bacterial symbiosis system treating heavy metal wastewater

Xing-Rui Zhou, Rong Wang, Cong-Cong Tang*, Cristiano Varrone, Zhang Wei He, Zhi-Hua Li, Xiaochang C. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Heavy metal (HM) pollution, particularly in its ionic form in water bodies, is a chronic issue threatening environmental security and human health. The microalgal-bacterial symbiosis (MABS) system, as the basis of water ecosystems, has the potential to treat HM wastewater in a sustainable manner, with the advantages of environmental friendliness and carbon sequestration. However, the differences between laboratory studies and engineering practices, including the complexity of pollutant compositions and extreme environmental conditions, limit the applications of the MABS system. Additionally, the biomass from the MABS system containing HMs requires further disposal or recycling. This review summarized the recent advances of the MABS system treating HM wastewater, including key mechanisms, influence factors related to HM removal, and the tolerance threshold values of the MABS system to HM toxicity. Furthermore, the challenges and prospects of the MABS system in treating actual HM wastewater are analyzed and discussed, and suggestions for biochar preparation from the MABS biomass containing HMs are provided. This review provides a reference point for the MABS system treating HM wastewater and the corresponding challenges faced by future engineering practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140448
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Challenges
  • Heavy metal wastewater
  • Microalgal-bacterial symbiosis system
  • Response mechanism


Dive into the research topics of 'Advances, challenges, and prospects in microalgal-bacterial symbiosis system treating heavy metal wastewater'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this