Characterisation of algal organic matter produced by bloom-forming marine and freshwater algae
AuthorsVillacorte, Loreen O.
Neu, Thomas R.
Kleijn, J. Mieke
Amy, Gary L.
Schippers, Jan Cornelis
Kennedy, Maria Dolores
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Environmental Science and Engineering Program
Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/564123
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AbstractAlgal blooms can seriously affect the operation of water treatment processes including low pressure (micro- and ultra-filtration) and high pressure (nanofiltration and reverse osmosis) membranes mainly due to accumulation of algal-derived organic matter (AOM). In this study, the different components of AOM extracted from three common species of bloom-forming algae (Alexandrium tamarense, Chaetoceros affinis and Microcystis sp.) were characterised employing various analytical techniques, such as liquid chromatography - organic carbon detection, fluorescence spectroscopy, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, alcian blue staining and lectin staining coupled with laser scanning microscopy to indentify its composition and force measurement using atomic force microscopy to measure its stickiness. Batch culture monitoring of the three algal species illustrated varying characteristics in terms of growth pattern, cell concentration and AOM release. The AOM produced by the three algal species comprised mainly biopolymers (e.g., polysaccharides and proteins) but some refractory compounds (e.g., humic-like substances) and other low molecular weight acid and neutral compounds were also found. Biopolymers containing fucose and sulphated functional groups were found in all AOM samples while the presence of other functional groups varied between different species. A large majority (>80%) of the acidic polysaccharide components (in terms of transparent exopolymer particles) were found in the colloidal size range (<0.4μm). The relative stickiness of AOM substantially varied between algal species and that the cohesion between AOM-coated surfaces was much stronger than the adhesion of AOM on AOM-free surfaces. Overall, the composition as well as the physico-chemical characteristics (e.g., stickiness) of AOM will likely dictate the severity of fouling in membrane systems during algal blooms.
SponsorsThis study was conducted through the financial support of Wetsus, KAUST-WDRC (Saudi Arabia) and UNESCO-IHE. The authors would like to acknowledge Stefan Huber for his analytical support and the Aerospace Engineering laboratory at TUDelft, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science at Wageningen University and UFZ Magdeburg for allowing us to use their facilities, and SAMS-CCAP (Scotland) for providing the algal strains and technical support. Thanks are due to Dino Berenstein, Evan Spruijt and Helga Calix Ponce for their analytical/technical assistance and the participants of Wetsus research theme "Biofouling" for the fruitful discussions.
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