Pretreatment with alum or powdered activated carbon reduces bacterial predation-associated irreversible fouling of membranes.

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Biofouling, ISSN: 1029-2454, Vol: 30, Issue: 10, Page: 1225-33

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Kwon, Young-Nam; Kim, Eun-Ho; Dwidar, Mohammed; Mitchell, Robert J.
Informa UK Limited; TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Immunology and Microbiology; Environmental Science; Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus; membrane filtration; irreversible fouling; alum; powdered activated carbon
article description
This study evaluated the co-application of bacterial predation by Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and either alum coagulation or powdered activated carbon adsorption to reduce fouling caused by Escherichia coli rich feed solutions in dead-end microfiltration tests. The flux increased when the samples were predated upon or treated with 100 ppm alum or PAC, but co-treatment with alum and predation gave the best flux results. The total membrane resistance caused by the predated sample was reduced six-fold when treated with 100 ppm PAC, from 11.8 to 1.98 × 10(11) m(-1), while irreversible fouling (Rp) was 2.7-fold lower. Treatment with 100 ppm alum reduced the total resistance 14.9-fold (11.8 to 0.79 × 10(11) m(-1)) while the Rp decreased 4.25-fold. SEM imaging confirmed this, with less obvious fouling of the membrane after the combined process. This study illustrates that the combination of bacterial predation and the subsequent removal of debris using coagulation or adsorption mitigates membrane biofouling and improves membrane performance.