Recently, membrane bioreactors (MBRs) with quorum quenching (QQ) bacteria entrapping beads have been reported as a new paradigm in biofouling control because, unlike conventional post-biofilm control methods, bacterial QQ can inhibit biofilm formation through its combined effects of physical scouring of the membrane and inhibition of quorum sensing (QS). In this study, using a special reporter strain (Escherichia coli JB525), the interaction between QS signal molecules and quorum quenching bacteria entrapping beads (QQ-beads) was elucidated through visualization of the QS signal molecules within a QQ-bead using a fluorescence microscope. As a result, under the conditions considered in this study, the surface area of QQ-media was likely to be a dominant parameter in enhancing QQ activity over total mass of entrapped QQ bacteria because QQ bacteria located near the core of a QQ-bead were unable to display their QQ activities. On the basis of this information, a more efficient QQ-medium, a QQ hollow cylinder (QQ-HC), was designed and prepared. In batch experiments, QQ-HCs showed greater QQ activity than QQ-beads as a result of their higher surface area and enhanced physical washing effect because of their larger impact area against the membrane surface. Furthermore, it was shown that such advantages of QQ-HCs resulted in more effective mitigation of membrane fouling than from QQ-beads in lab-scale continuous MBRs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Convergence Technology Program (2015001640001), which is funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE). The authors thank Prof. Michael Givskov at the University of Copenhagen for kindly providing E. coli JB525.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry