The potential of microalgae as a source of renewable energy has received considerable interest, but if microalgal biofuel production is to be economically viable and sustainable, further optimization of mass culture conditions are needed. Wastewaters derived from municipal, agricultural and industrial activities potentially provide cost-effective and sustainable means of algal growth for biofuels. In addition, there is also potential for combining wastewater treatment by algae, such as nutrient removal, with biofuel production. Here we will review the current research on this topic and discuss the potential benefits and limitations of using wastewaters as resources for cost-effective microalgal biofuel production. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.