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Mechanisms of MS2 Bacteriophage Removal by Fouled Ultrafiltration Membrane Subjected to Different Cleaning Methods

Lu, Ruiqing, Mosiman, Daniel, Nguyen, Thanh H.
Environmental Science & Technology 2013 v.47 no.23 pp. 13422-13429
adhesion, bacteriophages, cleaning, membrane bioreactors, permeability, porosity, quartz, thermoplastics, ultrafiltration
An ultrafiltration unit with a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane of 40 nm nominal pore size was used to study bacteriophage MS2 removal under different membrane conditions: pristine membrane, membrane fouled by soluble microbial product (SMP) extracted from membrane bioreactor (MBR) feedwater, backwashed membrane, and chemically cleaned membrane. The order of MS2 removal by these membranes was as follows: fouled membrane > backwashed membrane > chemically cleaned membrane ≈ pristine membrane. A linear correlation between membrane relative permeability and MS2 removal was found. Mass balance analysis showed a high percentage of MS2 in the concentrate for the fouled membrane as compared with the pristine membrane. Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) results showed faster kinetics of MS2 adhesion to the pristine membrane than to the SMP-fouled membrane. In agreement with QCM results, an attractive force between MS2 and the pristine membrane was detected using an atomic force microscope (AFM), whereas a repulsive force was detected for the interaction between MS2 and the fouled membrane. The presence of SMP on the membrane surface led to higher rejection of MS2 due to both pore blocking and repulsion between MS2 and the SMP layer. Chemical cleaning removed most of the SMP foulant and as a result led to a lower MS2 removal.