Biofilm formation on the membrane surface results in the loss of permeability in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for wastewater treatment. Studies have revealed that cellulose is not only produced by a number of bacterial species but also plays a key role during formation of their biofilm. Hence, in this study, cellulase was introduced to a MBR as a cellulose-induced biofilm control strategy. For practical application of cellulase to MBR, a cellulolytic (i.e., cellulase-producing) bacterium, Undibacterium sp. DM-1, was isolated from a lab-scale MBR for wastewater treatment. Prior to its application to MBR, it was confirmed that the cell-free supernatant of DM-1 was capable of inhibiting biofilm formation and of detaching the mature biofilm of activated sludge and cellulose-producing bacteria. This suggested that cellulase could be an effective anti-biofouling agent for MBRs used in wastewater treatment. Undibacterium sp. DM-1-entrapping beads (i.e., cellulolytic-beads) were applied to a continuous MBR to mitigate membrane biofouling 2.2-fold, compared with an MBR with vacant-beads as a control. Subsequent analysis of the cellulose content in the biofilm formed on the membrane surface revealed that this mitigation was associated with an approximately 30% reduction in cellulose by cellulolytic-beads in MBR.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Convergence Technology Program (2015001640001), which is funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology