Dynamics of biofilm formation under different nutrient levels and the effect on biofouling of a reverse osmosis membrane system

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Biofouling, 2013, 29 (3), pp. 319 - 330
Issue Date:
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 wild type and a mucoid derivative (FRD1) which over produces alginate were used to foul reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. When operated at a constant flux, biofilm formation on the RO membrane resulted in a slow rise in transmembrane pressure (TMP) of 22% for the initial four days of operation, followed by a sharp increase of 159% over the following two days. The initial slow increase in TMP was probably due to the formation of a biofilm on the membrane surface, which then accelerated the rate of biofouling through the effect of concentration polarization. At later stages of operation, most of the bacterial biomass consisted of dead cells. The amount of extracellular polymeric substances appeared to correlate positively with the number of dead cells. The results indicate that prolonging the initial stage of slow TMP increase and avoiding the latter stage of accelerated TMP increase would provide a sustainable operation of the RO system. These results suggest that nutrient limitation could reduce biofilm accumulation and delay the increase in TMP. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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