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Biodegradation of microcystins during gravity-driven membrane (GDM) ultrafiltration


Kohler, Esther; Villiger, Jörg; Posch, Thomas; Derlon, Nicolas; Shabarova, Tanja; Morgenroth, Eberhard; Pernthaler, Jakob; Blom, Judith F (2014). Biodegradation of microcystins during gravity-driven membrane (GDM) ultrafiltration. PLoS ONE, 9(11):e111794.

Abstract

Gravity-driven membrane (GDM) ultrafiltration systems require little maintenance: they operate without electricity at ultra-low pressure in dead-end mode and without control of the biofilm formation. These systems are already in use for water purification in some regions of the world where adequate treatment and distribution of drinking water is not readily available. However, many water bodies worldwide exhibit harmful blooms of cyanobacteria that severely lower the water quality due to the production of toxic microcystins (MCs). We studied the performance of a GDM system during an artificial Microcystis aeruginosa bloom in lake water and its simulated collapse (i.e., the massive release of microcystins) over a period of 21 days. Presence of live or destroyed cyanobacterial cells in the feed water decreased the permeate flux in the Microcystis treatments considerably. At the same time, the microbial biofilms on the filter membranes could successfully reduce the amount of microcystins in the filtrate below the critical threshold concentration of 1 µg L(-1) MC for human consumption in three out of four replicates after 15 days. We found pronounced differences in the composition of bacterial communities of the biofilms on the filter membranes. Bacterial genera that could be related to microcystin degradation substantially enriched in the biofilms amended with microcystin-containing cyanobacteria. In addition to bacteria previously characterized as microcystin degraders, members of other bacterial clades potentially involved in MC degradation could be identified.

Gravity-driven membrane (GDM) ultrafiltration systems require little maintenance: they operate without electricity at ultra-low pressure in dead-end mode and without control of the biofilm formation. These systems are already in use for water purification in some regions of the world where adequate treatment and distribution of drinking water is not readily available. However, many water bodies worldwide exhibit harmful blooms of cyanobacteria that severely lower the water quality due to the production of toxic microcystins (MCs). We studied the performance of a GDM system during an artificial Microcystis aeruginosa bloom in lake water and its simulated collapse (i.e., the massive release of microcystins) over a period of 21 days. Presence of live or destroyed cyanobacterial cells in the feed water decreased the permeate flux in the Microcystis treatments considerably. At the same time, the microbial biofilms on the filter membranes could successfully reduce the amount of microcystins in the filtrate below the critical threshold concentration of 1 µg L(-1) MC for human consumption in three out of four replicates after 15 days. We found pronounced differences in the composition of bacterial communities of the biofilms on the filter membranes. Bacterial genera that could be related to microcystin degradation substantially enriched in the biofilms amended with microcystin-containing cyanobacteria. In addition to bacteria previously characterized as microcystin degraders, members of other bacterial clades potentially involved in MC degradation could be identified.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:10 Feb 2015 14:19
Last Modified:27 Jun 2016 09:13
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111794
PubMed ID:25369266
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-106912

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