Prof. dr. ir. Bart De Gusseme

Telephone number: 
+32 9/264 59 76
Faculty staff

Background information


  • Ph.D.: Doctor in Applied Biological Sciences, Ghent University (2011)
  • M.Sc.: Bioscience engineer spec. Environmental Technology, Ghent University (2007)

Research interests: 

  • Industrial micobial technology for drinking water and (waste)water reuse
  • Microbial reuse technology: resource recovery of water, energy, nutrients and precious metals from liquid and solid waste streams
  • Closure of the industrial production cycle: new treatment schemes to interconnect waste treatment with energy-efficient production of ultrapure process water and other added value products
  • Sustainable urban development: designing the cities of the future in terms of waste management and utilisation of resources

Professional & Research Activities: 

Bibliography and teaching

  • Full bibliography on Biblio UGent:
  • H-index: 22, average citations per article: >50
  • Teaching: "Microbial Ecology and Environmental Sanitation" and "Resource Recovery Technology"
  • Guest lectures on drinking water production and water reuse

Major professional involvements

  • Co-promotor of the UGent-Aquaflanders Chair "Sustainable Drinking Water"
  • Associated member of CAPTURE - Pipeline "Water fit-for-use"
  • Member of the International Water Association (IWA) and IWA specialist groups
  • Member of the Belgian Committee of IWA (B-IWA)
  • Invited reviewer IWA journals and congresses (e.g. Water Research)
  • Participation in expert teams on sustainable urban development and decentralized sewage treatment
  • Member of the STOWA committee on decentralized water treatment
  • Contributions to several international conferences and symposia and member of the scientific committee

External services

  • Flow cytometric monitoring of the bacterial water quality of drinking and process water
  • Consultancy and research projects related to bioremediation, wastewater treatment, membrane filtration processes and drinking water disinfection
  • Pilot studies in collaboration with industry for industrial and municipal water treatment
  • Full-scale audit of wastewater treatment plants and drinking water production sites, e.g. Energy efficiency in membrane bioreactors


Specific research topic: sustainable water management and resource recovery

Mission of our research group:


Water scarcity is no longer a problem relevant to arid zones only, but it occurs globally, in both developing and industrialized nations. Even in regions considered water-rich (e.g. Flanders), industry, agriculture and shipping have to compete for water resources. Moreover, groundwater extraction for industrial process water production is currently under discussion because of saline intrusion. To cope with these challenges, our group focusses on the development of innovative strategies to integrate wastewater treatment in the industrial and municipal water production process of the 21st century. The overarching goal is closure of the water cycle and to capture water directly form non-traditional sources such as industrial or municipal wastewater and restore it to ultrapure process water or even potable water quality. To meet these quality requirements, microbial technology (AD and A-B treatment) and membrane filtration is generally regarded as the key technology and new treatment schemes including membrane bioreactors, ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) are currently under investigation. When dealing with the urban metabolism, there is also an urgent need to rethink and redesign the currently used treatment lines, in the perspective of a sustainable bio-economy. Source separation, anaerobic digestion of black water and other organic wastes (e.g. kitchen organics) offers promising possibilities for affordable ‘Cradle to Cradle’ treatment in the cities of the future, including heath recovery, biogas production and clever nutrient recovery processes.


Non-academic activities

  • 2021-present: Senior Expert Innovation Water FARYS - R&D
  • 2011-2021: Project management at Engineering dept. FARYS - Design (D), building (B), maintenance (M) and operation (O) of drinking water facilities & process and waste water treatment plants
  • 01-03/2011: R&D engineer (internship) at Centro Technológico del Agua (CETaqua, Agbar Group, Barcelona, Spain) - Full-scale MBR audit


  • D,B,M&O Water reuse plant for drinking water Aalst, Belgium (50 m3/h, WWTP effluent)
  • D,B,M&O Water reuse plant for food industry Aalst, Belgium (35 m3/h, WWTP effluent)
  • D,B,M&O Drinking water treatment Ostend, Belgium (max. 1200 m3/h, surface water)
  • D,B,M&O Softened and demin water production site Nazareth, Belgium (max. 120 m3/h, drinking water)
  • D,B,M&O Decentralized water reuse and resource recovery plant Nieuwe Dokken Ghent, Belgium (1265 IE)
  • D,B,M&O Drinking water treatment Oudenaarde, Belgium (max. 50 m3/h, groundwater)
  • D&B Drinking water treatment Ronse, Belgium (max. 20 m3/h, groundwater)
  • M&O Demin water production site Port of Ghent, Belgium (max. 360 m3/h, surface water)
  • M&O Demin water and steam production site Ghent, Belgium (max. 30 m3 demin/h, 6 ton/h steam @ 16 bar)
  • M&O Demin water production site Ostend, Belgium (max. 75 m3/h, drinking water)
  • D,B,M&O Demin water production site Aalst, Belgium (max. 75 m3/h, drinking water)
  • D&B Wastewater treatment plant Bierbeek, Belgium (> 500 IE, hospital wastewater)
  • Audit Wastewater treatment plant Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (500 m3/h, paper factory waste water)
  • Audit Wastewater treatment plant Terrassa, Spain (90 000 m3/d, domestic wastewater)


Scientific awards

  • Outstanding Paper Award 2017, Water and Environment Journal. Commended paper ‘Flow cytometric examination of bacterial growth in a local drinking water network’. Van Nevel S., Buysschaert B., De Gusseme B. & Boon N. (2016). Water and Environment Journal 30(1-2), 167-176.
  • Outstanding Paper Award 2011, Water and Environment Journal. Commended paper ‘Addition of an aerated iron-rich waste-activated sludge to control the soluble sulphide concentration in sewage’. Zhang L., De Gusseme B., Cai L., De Schryver P., Marzorati M., Boon N., Lens P. & Verstraete W. (2011). Water and Environment Journal 25, 106-115.
  • 16th PhD Symposium on Applied Biological Sciences 2011, Ghent University. Presentation Award with ‘Biogenic silver nanoparticles for decontamination of viral contaminated water’.
  • EEP Award 2008, European Environmental Press. Golden Award with ‘BioPAD, innovative biocatalyst’.
  • KVIV-Engineering Awards promotion 2007, Royal Flemish Society of Engineers. Public Award and second place with ‘Biologische verwijdering van sulfide’.
  • Best Scription Award Master of Bioscience Engineering: Environmental Technology 2006-2007, ArcelorMittal Gent. First place with ‘Biologische sulfideverwijdering in rioleringssystemen’.
Selected key publications: 
De Gusseme B., Hennebel T., Vanhaecke L., Soetaert M., Desloover J., Wille K., Verbeken K., Verstraete W. & Boon N. (2011). Biogenic palladium enhances diatrizoate removal from hospital wastewater in a microbial electrolysis cell. Environmental Science and Technology 45(13), 5737-5745.
De Gusseme B., Hennebel T., Christiaens E., Saveyn H., Verbeken K., Boon N. & Verstraete W. (2011). Virus disinfection in water by biogenic silver immobilized in polyvinylidene fluoride membranes. Water Research 45(4), 1856-1864.
De Gusseme B., Sintubin L., Baert L., Thibo E., Hennebel T., Vermeulen G., Uyttendaele M., Verstraete W. & Boon N. (2010). Biogenic silver for disinfection of water contaminated with viruses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(4), 1082-1087.
De Gusseme B., Pycke B., Hennebel T., Marcoen A., Vlaeminck S. E., Noppe H., Boon N. & Verstraete W. (2009). Biological removal of 17α-ethinylestradiol by a nitrifier enrichment culture in a membrane bioreactor. Water Research 43(9), 2493–2503.
Hennebel T., De Gusseme B., Boon N. & Verstraete W. (2009). Biogenic metals in advanced water treatment. Trends in Biotechnology 27(2), 90-98.
Van Nevel S., Buysschaert B., De Gusseme B. & Boon N. (2016). Flow cytometric examination of bacterial growth in a local drinking water. Water and Environment Journal 30(1-2), 167-176.
Vanoppen M., Stoffels G., Buffel J., De Gusseme B., Verliefde A. R. D. (2016). A hybrid IEX-RO process with brine recycling for increased RO recovery without chemical addition: A pilot-scale study. Desalination 394, 185-194.
Van Nevel S., Buysschaert B., De Roy K., De Gusseme B., Clement L. & Boon N. (2017). Flow cytometry for immediate follow-up of drinking water networks after maintenance works. Water Research 111, 66-73.
Buysschaert B., Vermijs L., Naka A., Boon N. & De Gusseme B. (2018). Online flow cytometric monitoring of microbial water quality in a full-scale water treatment plant. NPJ Clean Water,
Favere J., Buysschaert B., Boon N. & De Gusseme B. (2020). Online microbial fingerprinting for quality management of drinking water: full-scale event detection. Water Research 170, 115353.