Sustainable microalgal biomass production in food industry wastewater for low-cost biorefinery products: a review

Sabeela Beevi Ummalyma, Ranjna Sirohi, Aswathy Udayan, Pooja Yadav, Abhay Raj, Sang Jun Sim, Ashok Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Microalgae are recognized as cell factories enriched with biochemicals suitable as feedstock for bio-energy, food, feed, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals applications. The industrial application of microalgae is challenging due to hurdles associated with mass cultivation and biomass recovery. The scale-up production of microalgal biomass in freshwater is not a sustainable solution due to the projected increase of freshwater demands in the coming years. Microalgae cultivation in wastewater is encouraged in recent years for sustainable bioeconomy from biorefinery processes. Wastewater from the food industry is a less-toxic growth medium for microalgal biomass production. Traditional wastewater treatment and management processes are expensive; hence it is highly relevant to use low-cost wastewater treatment processes with revenue generation through different products. Microalgae are accepted as potential biocatalysts for the bioremediation of wastewater. Microalgae based purification of wastewater technology could be a universal alternative solution for the recovery of resources from wastewater for low-cost biomass feedstock for industry. This review highlights the importance of microalgal biomass production in food processing wastewater, their characteristics, and different microalgal cultivation methods, followed by nutrient absorption mechanisms. Towards the end of the review, different microalgae biomass harvesting processes with biorefinery products, and void gaps that tend to hinder the biomass production with future perspectives will be intended. Thus, the review could claim to be valuable for sustainable microalgae biomass production for eco-friendly bioproduct conversions. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-991
Number of pages23
JournalPhytochemistry Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Biofuels
  • Biomass production
  • Biorefinery chemicals
  • Food industry wastewater
  • Harvesting process
  • Microalgae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science


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