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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry