Combine Effect of Physical and Biological Based Antifouling Strategies in Lab Scale Membrane Bioreactor Treating Synthetic Wastewater
Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) have been evolved into state-of-the-art technology in wastewater treatment and
reuse. However, fouling associated with the membranes, still remains a major problem that elevates operating and
maintenance costs, thereby hampering the spread of MBRs worldwide. Although interrupting the process of the biofilm
formation by the action of interspecies quorum quenching (QQ) has received a significant attention since recent years, but it
is limited to the control of biofouling only. Whereas, this study demonstrates the combined effect of quorum quenching
mechanism and backwashing (distinguished physical technique) in MBR treating synthetic wastewater to control biofouling
and membrane pore blockage simultaneously. Three bench-scale MBRs, (i) conventional MBR (C-MBR) (ii) MBR with
backwash (MBR-BW) and (iii) MBR with QQ consortium and backwash (MBR-QQ-BW) were set up and operated
continuously. MBR with combine effect of backwashing and quorum quenching exhibited 7 and 3 times longer filtration
cycle than C-MBR and MBR-BW. Comparatively less cake layer resistance (R c ) and soluble EPS concentrations were
observed in MBR-QQ-BW than other two MBRs. Study reveals the novelty of successful application of combined influence
of permeate backflushing technique in pore blockage reduction and QQ as an anti-biofouling strategy in MBR and potential
use for full scale applications.
Keywords— Wastewater Treatment, Membrane Bioreactor, Fouling Control.