UV and bacteriophages as a chemical-free approach for cleaning membranes from anaerobic bioreactors
KAUST DepartmentEnvironmental Science and Engineering Program
Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE) Division
Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
Environmental Science and Engineering
Embargo End Date2022-03-07
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/667612
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AbstractAnaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) for wastewater treatment has attracted much interest due to its efficacy in providing high-quality effluent with minimal energy costs. However, membrane biofouling represents the main bottleneck for AnMBR because it diminishes flux and necessitates frequent replacement of membranes. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of combining bacteriophages and UV-C irradiation to provide a chemical-free approach to remove biofoulants on the membrane. The combination of bacteriophage and UV-C resulted in better log cells removal and ca. 2× higher extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) concentration reduction in mature biofoulants compared to either UV-C or bacteriophage alone. The cleaning mechanism behind this combined approach is by 1) reducing the relative abundance of Acinetobacter spp. and selected bacteria (e.g., Paludibacter, Pseudomonas, Cloacibacterium, and gram-positive Firmicutes) associated with the membrane biofilm and 2) forming cavities in the biofilm to maintain water flux through the membrane. When the combined treatment was further compared with the common chemical cleaning procedure, a similar reduction on the cell numbers was observed (1.4 log). However, the combined treatment was less effective in removing EPS compared with chemical cleaning. These results suggest that the combination of UV-C and bacteriophage have an additive effect in biofouling reduction, representing a potential chemical-free method to remove reversible biofoulants on membrane fitted to an AnMBR.
CitationScarascia, G., Fortunato, L., Myshkevych, Y., Cheng, H., Leiknes, T., & Hong, P.-Y. (2020). UV and bacteriophages as a chemical-free approach for cleaning membranes from anaerobic bioreactors. doi:10.1101/2020.08.03.234450
SponsorsS. This study was supported by KAUST Center Applied Research Funding FCC/1/1971-32-01 and Center of Excellence for NEOM Research Flagship Projects REI/1/4178-03-01 awarded to P.-Y.H.
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