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Activity of metazoa governs biofilm structure formation and enhances permeate flux during Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration


Derlon, Nicolas; Koch, Nicolas; Eugster, Bettina; Posch, Thomas; Pernthaler, Jakob; Pronk, Wouter; Morgenroth, Eberhard (2013). Activity of metazoa governs biofilm structure formation and enhances permeate flux during Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration. Water research, 47(6):2085-2095.

Abstract

The impact of different feed waters in terms of eukaryotic populations and organic carbon content on the biofilm structure formation and permeate flux during Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration was investigated in this study. GDM filtration was performed at ultra-low pressure (65 mbar) in dead-end mode without control of the biofilm formation. Different feed waters were tested (River water, pre-treated river water, lake water, and tap water) and varied with regard to their organic substrate content and their predator community. River water was manipulated either by chemically inhibiting all eukaryotes or by filtering out macrozoobenthos (metazoan organisms). The structure of the biofilm was characterized at the meso- and micro-scale using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM), respectively. Based on Total Organic Carbon (TOC) measurements, the river waters provided the highest potential for bacterial growth whereas tap water had the lowest. An increasing content in soluble and particulate organic substrate resulted in increasing biofilm accumulation on membrane surface. However, enhanced biofilm accumulation did not result in lower flux values and permeate flux was mainly influenced by the structure of the biofilm. Metazoan organisms (in particular nematodes and oligochaetes) built-up protective habitats, which resulted in the formation of open and spatially heterogeneous biofilms composed of biomass patches. In the absence of predation by metazoan organisms, a flat and compact biofilm developed. It is concluded that the activity of metazoan organisms in natural river water and its impact on biofilm structure balances the detrimental effect of a high biofilm accumulation, thus allowing for a broader application of GDM filtration. Finally, our results suggest that for surface waters with high particulate organic carbon (POC) content, the use of worms is suitable to enhance POC removal before ultrafiltration units.

Abstract

The impact of different feed waters in terms of eukaryotic populations and organic carbon content on the biofilm structure formation and permeate flux during Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration was investigated in this study. GDM filtration was performed at ultra-low pressure (65 mbar) in dead-end mode without control of the biofilm formation. Different feed waters were tested (River water, pre-treated river water, lake water, and tap water) and varied with regard to their organic substrate content and their predator community. River water was manipulated either by chemically inhibiting all eukaryotes or by filtering out macrozoobenthos (metazoan organisms). The structure of the biofilm was characterized at the meso- and micro-scale using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM), respectively. Based on Total Organic Carbon (TOC) measurements, the river waters provided the highest potential for bacterial growth whereas tap water had the lowest. An increasing content in soluble and particulate organic substrate resulted in increasing biofilm accumulation on membrane surface. However, enhanced biofilm accumulation did not result in lower flux values and permeate flux was mainly influenced by the structure of the biofilm. Metazoan organisms (in particular nematodes and oligochaetes) built-up protective habitats, which resulted in the formation of open and spatially heterogeneous biofilms composed of biomass patches. In the absence of predation by metazoan organisms, a flat and compact biofilm developed. It is concluded that the activity of metazoan organisms in natural river water and its impact on biofilm structure balances the detrimental effect of a high biofilm accumulation, thus allowing for a broader application of GDM filtration. Finally, our results suggest that for surface waters with high particulate organic carbon (POC) content, the use of worms is suitable to enhance POC removal before ultrafiltration units.

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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:2013
Deposited On:20 Feb 2014 10:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:36
Publisher:IWA Publishing
ISSN:0043-1354
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2013.01.033

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