Organic carbon source-dependent properties of soluble microbial products in sequencing batch reactors and its effects on membrane fouling

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Management, 2019, 244 pp. 40 - 47
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd This study investigated the influence of three different organic carbon sources including sodium acetate (SOD), glucose (GLU), and starch (STAR), on soluble microbial products (SMP), which presumably have dissimilar uptake rates and metabolic pathways, in sequencing batch reactors (SBR) and their subsequent effects on membrane fouling of ultrafiltration (UF). SMP were mainly characterized by fluorescence excitation emission matrix coupled with parallel factor analysis (EEM-PARAFAC) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). SMP produced in SOD-fed SBR showed higher abundances of protein-like fluorescent component and large sized aliphatic biopolymer (BP) than GLU- or STAR-fed counterpart did, while the STAR-based operation resulted in more SMP enriched with humic-like fluorescence. The differences in SMP exerted marked effects on UF membrane fouling as indicated by the highest fouling potential with reversibility shown for the SMP from the SOD-fed reactor. Regardless of the carbon source, BP fraction and protein-like component exhibited the greatest extent of reversible fouling, suggesting that size exclusion plays a critical role. However, notable differences in the reversible fouling propensity of relatively smaller size fractions among the three SBRs signified the possible involvement of chemical interactions as a secondary fouling mechanism and its dependency on different carbon sources. Our results provide a new insight into the roles of carbon sources in the characteristics of SMP in biological treatment systems and their effects on the post-treatment using membrane filtration, which is ultimately beneficial to the optimization of biological treatment design and membrane filtration operation.
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