Fungal Quorum Quenching: A Paradigm Shift for Energy Savings in Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) for Wastewater Treatment

Kibaek Lee, Seonki Lee, Sang Hyun Lee, Sang Ryoung Kim, Hyun Suk Oh, Pyungkyu Park, Kwang Ho Choo, Yea Won Kim, Jung Kee Lee, Chung Hak Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the last 30 years, the use of membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for advanced wastewater treatment and reuse have been expanded continuously, but they still suffer from excessive energy consumption resulting from the intrinsic problem of membrane biofouling. One of the major causes of biofouling in MBRs is bacterial quorum sensing (QS) via N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) and/or autoinducer-2 (AI-2), enabling intra- and interspecies communications, respectively. In this study, we demonstrate that farnesol can substantially mitigate membrane biofouling in a MBR due to its quorum quenching (QQ) activity. When Candida albicans (a farnesol producing fungus) entrapping polymer beads (AEBs) were placed in the MBR, the rate of transmembrane pressure (TMP) rise-up was substantially decreased, even for lower aeration intensities. This finding corresponds to a specific aeration energy savings of approximately 40% (25% through the physical washing effect and a further 15% through the biological QQ effect of AEBs) compared to conventional MBRs without AEBs. A real-time RT-qPCR analysis revealed that farnesol secreted from C. albicans mitigated the biofilm formation in MBRs via the suppression of AI-2 QS. Successful control of biofouling and energy savings through fungal-to-bacterial QQ could be expanded to the plant scale for MBRs in wastewater treatment with economic feasibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10914-10922
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume50
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 18

Fingerprint

paradigm shift
Bioreactors
Wastewater treatment
bioreactor
Quenching
Energy conservation
membrane
Membranes
Biofouling
biofouling
Farnesol
aeration
wastewater treatment
energy saving
Candida
Biofilms
Lactones
Fungi
Washing
biofilm

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Lee, Kibaek ; Lee, Seonki ; Lee, Sang Hyun ; Kim, Sang Ryoung ; Oh, Hyun Suk ; Park, Pyungkyu ; Choo, Kwang Ho ; Kim, Yea Won ; Lee, Jung Kee ; Lee, Chung Hak. / Fungal Quorum Quenching : A Paradigm Shift for Energy Savings in Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) for Wastewater Treatment. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2016 ; Vol. 50, No. 20. pp. 10914-10922.
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Fungal Quorum Quenching : A Paradigm Shift for Energy Savings in Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) for Wastewater Treatment. / Lee, Kibaek; Lee, Seonki; Lee, Sang Hyun; Kim, Sang Ryoung; Oh, Hyun Suk; Park, Pyungkyu; Choo, Kwang Ho; Kim, Yea Won; Lee, Jung Kee; Lee, Chung Hak.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 50, No. 20, 18.10.2016, p. 10914-10922.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - A Paradigm Shift for Energy Savings in Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) for Wastewater Treatment

AU - Lee, Kibaek

AU - Lee, Seonki

AU - Lee, Sang Hyun

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AU - Oh, Hyun Suk

AU - Park, Pyungkyu

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AU - Kim, Yea Won

AU - Lee, Jung Kee

AU - Lee, Chung Hak

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