Microbial activity in biofilter used as a pretreatment for seawater desalination

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Journal Article
Desalination, 2013, 309 pp. 254 - 260
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Biofilters as a pretreatment process in seawater desalination can reduce biofoulants through adsorption and biodegradation. In this study, the performance of granular activated carbon (GAC) biofilter with three different filtration velocities was studied in terms of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) removal. This apart, the microbial activities in the biofilters were measured in terms of concentration of active biomass (adenosine tri-phosphate; ATP) and total cell count. Biofouling potential in biofilter effluents were assessed in terms of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) and assimilable organic carbon (AOC) concentration. AOC was carried out using a new rapid bioluminescence method. Upon reaching mature stage, the GAC biofilters achieved high DOC removal efficiency of more than 60%, especially the low molecular weight organics. This organic removal was mostly attributed to active biomass on the GAC media. In addition, GAC biofilters led to significant reduction of the AOC and TEP concentration amounting to only 0.6. ±0.2. μg-C glucose/L and 5.3 ± 1.1. μg-C/L, respectively in effluents. Thus, GAC biofilter is an effective pretreatment in reducing biofouling potential. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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