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Different bacterial species and their extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) significantly affected reverse osmosis (RO) membrane fouling potentials in wastewater reclamation.

Yu, Tong; Sun, Hao; Chen, Zhuo; Wang, Yun-Hong; Huo, Zheng-Yang; Ikuno, Nozomu; Ishii, Kazuki; Jin, Yan; Hu, Hong-Ying; Wu, Yin-Hu; Lu, Yun.
Sci Total Environ; 644: 486-493, 2018 Dec 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29990899
Biofouling represents the "Achilles' heel" for reverse osmosis (RO) processes due to the growth of bacteria and their production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs). Although the microbial community structure on the RO membrane has been analysed previously, the bacterial species with a high potential of causing RO membrane fouling have not yet been identified clearly. The key components in EPSs causing RO membrane fouling have not been revealed either. In this study, seven different bacterial species were isolated from fouled RO membranes, and their EPSs were analysed in terms of the content of polysaccharides and proteins, fluorescence characteristics and molecular weight (MW) distributions. The membrane fouling potentials of these bacterial species and EPSs were evaluated based on normalized flux decline. Generally, under the same growth conditions, bacterial species with higher EPS concentrations, rather than higher cell numbers, resulted in more severe flux decline. The flux decline showed an apparent positive correlation with the EPS concentration, indicating that the concentration of EPS rather than the bacterial number mainly contributed to biofouling. Furthermore, it was found that the MW distribution was the key factor affecting the RO membrane fouling potential of EPSs from different bacterial species. With the increase in the percentage of the high-MW fraction (>10 kDa) in the EPSs from 12.6% to 74.4%, the normalized flux decline increased from 0.4 to 0.59. The components in EPSs with a MW over 10 kDa were also separated by the ultrafiltration membrane and were proven to have a higher membrane fouling potential.