Innovative Biofouling Control for Membrane Bioreactors in Cold Regions by Inducing Environmental Adaptation in Quorum-Quenching Bacteria

Sojin Min, Hosung Lee, Dowon Chae, Jeongwon Park, Sang H. Lee, Hyun Suk Oh, Kibaek Lee, Chung Hak Lee, Soryong Chae, Pyung Kyu Park

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial quorum quenching (QQ), whose mechanism involves the degradation of quorum-sensing signal molecules, is an effective strategy for controlling biofouling in membrane bioreactors (MBRs). However, MBRs operated at low temperatures, either due to cold climates or seasonal variations, exhibit severe deterioration in QQ efficiency. In this study, a modified culture method for Rhodococcus sp. BH4, a QQ bacterium, was developed to induce environmental adaptation in cold regions. BH4-L, which was prepared by the modified culture method, showed enhancement in QQ efficiency at low temperatures. The higher QQ efficiency obtained by employing BH4-L at 10 °C (compared with that obtained by employing BH4 at 10 °C) was attributed to the higher live/dead cell ratio in the BH4-L-entrapping beads. When BH4-L-entrapping beads were applied to lab-scale MBRs operated at low temperatures, membrane biofouling in MBRs at low temperatures was successfully mitigated because BH4-L could substantially reduce the concentration of signal molecules (N-acyl homoserine lactones) in the biocake. Employing BH4-L in QQ-MBRs could offer a novel solution to the problem of severe membrane biofouling in MBRs in cold regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4396-4403
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) [no. 2019R1A2C4070045] and Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through a project for developing innovative drinking water and wastewater technologies funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) [no. 2021002690006].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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