Relation between EPS adherence, viscoelastic properties, and MBR operation: Biofouling study with QCM-D.
ABSTRACT Membrane fouling is one of the main constraints of the wide use of membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology. The biomass in MBR systems includes extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), metabolic products of active microbial secretion that adversely affect the membrane performance. Solids retention time (SRT) in the MBR is one of the most important parameters affecting membrane fouling in MBR systems, where fouling is minimized at optimal SRT. Among the operating parameters in MBR systems, SRT is known to strongly influence the ratio of proteins to polysaccharides in the EPS matrix. In this study, we have direct evidence for changes in EPS adherence and viscoelastic properties due to changes in the sludge removal rate that strongly correlate with the membrane fouling rate and EPS composition. EPS were extracted from a UF membrane in a hybrid growth MBR operated at sludge removal rates of 59, 35.4, 17.7, and 5.9 L day(-1) (corresponding SRT of 3, 5, 10, and 30 days, respectively). The EPS adherence and adsorption kinetics were carried out in a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) technology in several adsorption measurements to a gold sensor coated with Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF). EPS adsorption to the sensor surface is characterized by a decrease of the oscillation frequency and an increase in the dissipation energy of the sensor during parallel flow of aqueous media, supplemented with EPS, above the sensor surface. The results from these experiments were further modeled using the Voigt based model, in which the thickness, shear modulus, and shear viscosity values of the adsorbed EPS layers on the PVDF crystal were calculated. The observations in the QCM-D suggested that the elevated fouling of the UF membrane is due to higher adherence of the EPS as well as reduction in viscosity and elasticity of the EPS adsorbed layer and elevation of the EPS fluidity. These results corroborate with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) image analysis showing thicker EPS in close proximity to the membrane surface operated at reactor conditions which induced more fouling at elevated sludge removal rates.
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ABSTRACT: The study demonstrated the potential relationship between microbial community structure and membrane fouling in an anoxic–oxic membrane bioreactor (A/O-MBR). The results showed that the microbial community structure in biocake was different with aerobic mixture, and the dominant populations were out of sync during the fouling process. Based on microbial community structure and metabolites analysis, the results showed that the succession of microbial community might be the leading factor to the variation of metabolites, and it might be the primary cause of membrane fouling. The rise of Shannon diversity index (H) of the microbial community in A/O-MBR went with the gradually serious membrane fouling. Pareto–Lorenz curve was used to describe the evenness of microbial distribution in A/O-MBR, and the result indicated when community evenness was low, the membrane fouling took place smoothly or slightly, otherwise, high evenness of microbial community would lead to more seriously membrane fouling.Bioresource Technology 01/2014; 154:87–93. · 5.04 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Biofouling in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) remains a primary challenge for their wider application, despite the growing acceptance of MBRs worldwide. Research studies on membrane fouling are extensive in the literature, with more than 200 publications on MBR fouling in the last 3 years; yet, improvements in practice on biofouling control and management have been remarkably slow. Commonly applied cleaning methods are only partially effective and membrane replacement often becomes frequent. The reason for the slow advancement in successful control of biofouling is largely attributed to the complex interactions of involved biological compounds and the lack of representative-for-practice experimental approaches to evaluate potential effective control strategies. Biofouling is driven by microorganisms and their associated extra-cellular polymeric substances (EPS) and microbial products. Microorganisms and their products convene together to form matrices that are commonly treated as a black box in conventional control approaches. Biological-based antifouling strategies seem to be a promising constituent of an effective integrated control approach since they target the essence of biofouling problems. However, biological-based strategies are in their developmental phase and several questions should be addressed to set a roadmap for translating existing and new information into sustainable and effective control techniques. This paper investigates membrane biofouling in MBRs from the microbiological perspective to evaluate the potential of biological-based strategies in offering viable control alternatives. Limitations of available control methods highlight the importance of an integrated anti-fouling approach including biological strategies. Successful development of these strategies requires detailed characterization of microorganisms and EPS through the proper selection of analytical tools and assembly of results. Existing microbiological/EPS studies reveal a number of implications as well as knowledge gaps, warranting future targeted research. Systematic and representative microbiological studies, complementary utilization of molecular and biofilm characterization tools, standardized experimental methods and validation of successful biological-based antifouling strategies for MBR applications are needed. Specifically, in addition, linking these studies to relevant operational conditions in MBRs is an essential step to ultimately develop a better understanding and more effective and directed control strategy for biofouling.Water Research 06/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A number of techniques are used for testing the anti-biofouling activity of surfaces, yet the correlation between different results is often questionable. In this report, the correlation between initial bacterial deposition (fast tests, reported previously) and biofilm growth (much slower tests) was analyzed on a pristine and a surface-modified reverse osmosis membrane ESPA-1. The membrane was modified with grafted hydrophilic polymers bearing negatively charged, positively charged and zwitter-ionic moieties. Using three different bacterial strains it was found that there was no general correlation between the initial bacterial deposition rates and biofilm growth on surfaces, the reasons being different for each modified surface. For the negatively charged surface the slowest deposition due to the charge repulsion was eventually succeeded by the largest biofilm growth, probably due to secretion of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that mediated a strong attachment. For the positively charged surface, short-term charge attraction by quaternary amine groups led to the fastest deposition, but could be eventually overridden by their antimicrobial activity, resulting in non-consistent results where in some cases a lower biofilm formation rate was observed. The results indicate that initial deposition rates have to be used and interpreted with great care, when used for assessing the anti-biofouling activity of surfaces. However, for a weakly interacting 'low-fouling' zwitter-ionic surface, the positive correlation between initial cell deposition and biofilm growth, especially under flow, suggests that for this type of coating initial deposition tests may be fairly indicative of anti-biofouling potential.Biofouling 02/2014; · 3.40 Impact Factor