Bioaugmentation: An emerging strategy of industrial wastewater treatment for reuse and discharge

Alexis Nzila*, Shaikh Abdur Razzak, Jesse Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


A promising long-term and sustainable solution to the growing scarcity of water worldwide is to recycle and reuse wastewater. In wastewater treatment plants, the biodegradation of contaminants or pollutants by harnessing microorganisms present in activated sludge is one of the most important strategies to remove organic contaminants from wastewater. However, this approach has limitations because many pollutants are not efficiently eliminated. To counterbalance the limitations, bioaugmentation has been developed and consists of adding specific and efficient pollutant-biodegrading microorganisms into a microbial community in an effort to enhance the ability of this microbial community to biodegrade contaminants. This approach has been tested for wastewater cleaning with encouraging results, but failure has also been reported, especially during scale-up. In this review, work on the bioaugmentation in the context of removal of important pollutants from industrial wastewater is summarized, with an emphasis on recalcitrant compounds, and strategies that can be used to improve the efficiency of bioaugmentation are also discussed. This review also initiates a discussion regarding new research areas, such as nanotechnology and quorum sensing, that should be investigated to improve the efficiency of wastewater bioaugmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number846
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the National Science Technology and Innovation Plan of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (NSTIP, grant 13-ENV1628-04) and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), grant IN#131051. The authors are grateful to KFUPM for personal support. The authors wish to express their gratitude to Qing Xiao Li of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA for his valuable contribution to the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bacteria
  • Bacteriophage
  • Bioaugmentation
  • Biodegradation
  • Bioremediation
  • Cell-immobilization
  • Industrial wastewater
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pollution
  • Protozoan grazing
  • Quorum sensing
  • Transfection and plasmid transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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