Main content area

Control of Membrane Biofouling in MBR for Wastewater Treatment by Quorum Quenching Bacteria Encapsulated in Microporous Membrane

Oh, Hyun-Suk, Yeon, Kyung-Min, Yang, Cheon-Seok, Kim, Sang-Ryoung, Lee, Chung-Hak, Park, Son Young, Han, Jong Yun, Lee, Jung-Kee
Environmental Science & Technology 2012 v.46 no.9 pp. 4877-4884
Escherichia coli, bacteria, biofouling, economic feasibility, environmental engineering, enzymes, filtration, homoserine, membrane bioreactors, microporous membranes, porous media, wastewater treatment
Recently, enzymatic quorum quenching has proven its potential as an innovative approach for biofouling control in the membrane bioreactor (MBR) for advanced wastewater treatment. However, practical issues on the cost and stability of enzymes are yet to be solved, which requires more effective quorum quenching methods. In this study, a novel quorum quenching strategy, interspecies quorum quenching by bacterial cell, was elaborated and proved to be efficient and economically feasible biofouling control in MBR. A recombinant Escherichia coli which producing N-acyl homoserine lactonase or quorum quenching Rhodococcus sp. isolated from a real MBR plant was encapsulated inside the lumen of microporous hollow fiber membrane, respectively. The porous membrane containing these functional bacteria (i.e., “microbial-vessel”) was put into the submerged MBR to alleviate biofouling on the surface of filtration membrane. The effect of biofouling inhibition by the microbial-vessel was evaluated over 80 days of MBR operation. Successful control of biofouling in a laboratory scale MBR suggests that the biofouling control through the interspecies quorum quenching could be expanded to the plant scale of MBR and various environmental engineering systems with economic feasibility.