The enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) process has been implemented in many wastewater treatment plants worldwide. While the EBPR process is indeed capable of efficient phosphorus (P) removal performance, disturbances and prolonged periods of insufficient P removal have been observed at full-scale plants on numerous occasions under conditions that are seemingly favourable for EBPR. Recent studies in this field have utilised a wide range of approaches to address this problem, from studying the microorganisms that are primarily responsible for or detrimental to this process, to determining their biochemical pathways and developing mathematical models that facilitate better prediction of process performance. The overall goal of each of these studies is to obtain a more detailed insight into how the EBPR process works, where the best way of achieving this objective is through linking together the information obtained using these different approaches. This review paper critically assesses the recent advances that have been achieved in this field, particularly relating to the areas of EBPR microbiology, biochemistry, process operation and process modelling. Potential areas for future research are also proposed. Although previous research in this field has undoubtedly improved our level of understanding, it is clear that much remains to be learned about the process, as many unanswered questions still remain. One of the challenges appears to be the integration of the existing and growing scientific knowledge base with the observations and applications in practice, which this paper hopes to partially achieve. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.