Biofilm formation on RO membranes: the impact of seawater pretreatment
Date of Issue2015
School of Materials Science and Engineering
Membrane biofouling is an acute problem that interferes with filtration and pressure-driven desalination processes. In this study, ultrafiltration (UF) and membrane bioreactor (MBR) system were examined for their potential use in the removal of organic matter from seawater as pretreatment for reverse osmosis (RO) desalination. The study showed that MBR treatment equipped with UF decreases total organic carbon, polysaccharides, and biofouling potential of RO membrane in comparison to feed seawater after UF treatment alone. Bacteria in the feed water and in the MBR system were characterized. The most abundant heterotrophic bacteria nourished from organic substances present in the MBR system belonging to the Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria classes increased from ~40% in seawater to ~60% in the MBR. These results indicate that pretreatment using a seawater MBR system can improve RO feed water quality and reduce the biofouling potential of RO membranes.
Biodegradable organic matter
Desalination and Water Treatment
© 2014 Balaban Publishers – Desalination Publications. This paper was published in Desalination and Water Treatment and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Balaban Publishers – Desalination Publications. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19443994.2014.998294]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.