Phycoremediation of Petroleum Hydrocarbon-Polluted Sites: Application, Challenges, and Future Prospects

  • Pankaj Kumar Gupta
  • Shashi Ranjan
  • Sanjay Kumar Gupta


Impoverished communities everywhere in the world face challenges with respect to the treatment of wastewater. In particular, rural areas and remote communities with low socioeconomic conditions may lack conventional centralized wastewater treatment systems. As a result, in many instances, wastewater may be disposed without appropriate treatment, thus contaminating drinking water resources. Even if the communities choose a minimal effort and cost system for wastewater treatment, existing decontamination techniques do not provide complete reduction in biodegradable organic materials, pathogens, nutrients, etc., from the wastewater. Particularly, wastewater containing petrochemical hydrocarbons is of major concern under varying climatic conditions because of their high sensitivity to subsurface variability, which enables the pollutants to spread widely. Thus, engineered bioremediation is a promising cost-effective technique that is widely used to accelerate degradation and biotransformation of different pollutants. Phycoremediation is a technique using algae through various mechanisms for pollutant removal or biotransformation that includes nutrients, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and pesticides. In addition to the removal of pollutants, this mechanism yields algal biomass as an interesting raw material for a diversity of valuable products and biofuel. In this book chapter, we give a comprehensive compilation of existing knowledge and future prospects of algal application in remediation of petrochemical hydrocarbon pollution. Further, this chapter discusses the biogeochemical pathway leading to degradation of petrochemical-polluted soils and groundwater using phycoremediation techniques. The emphasis of the chapter is on present practical applications and the technological constraints to employing sustainable methods. The knowledge pool of this chapter will help in applying decontamination techniques to petrochemical-polluted wastewater and the soil–water system.


Petrochemical pollutants Phycoremediation Groundwater resources Practical and technological constraints 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pankaj Kumar Gupta
    • 1
  • Shashi Ranjan
    • 1
  • Sanjay Kumar Gupta
    • 2
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Department of HydrologyRoorkeeIndia
  2. 2.Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology – DelhiNew DelhiIndia

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