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Membrane biofilm development improves COD removal in anaerobic membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment



Membrane biofilm development improves COD removal in anaerobic membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment



Microbial Biotechnology 8(5): 883-894



Membrane biofilm development was evaluated to improve psychrophilic (15°C) anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) treatment of domestic wastewater. An AnMBR containing three replicate submerged membrane housings with separate permeate collection was operated at three levels of membrane fouling by independently controlling biogas sparging for each membrane unit. High membrane fouling significantly improved permeate quality, but resulted in dissolved methane in the permeate at a concentration two to three times the equilibrium concentration predicted by Henry's law. Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA targeting Bacteria and Archaea and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction targeting the methyl coenzyme-M reductase (mcrA) gene in methanogens indicated that the membrane biofilm was enriched in highly active methanogens and syntrophic bacteria. Restoring fouled membranes to a transmembrane pressure (TMP) near zero by increasing biogas sparging did not disrupt the biofilm's treatment performance, suggesting that microbes in the foulant layer were tightly adhered and did not significantly contribute to TMP. Dissolved methane oversaturation persisted without high TMP, implying that methanogenesis in the biofilm, rather than high TMP, was the primary driving force in methane oversaturation. The results describe an attractive operational strategy to improve treatment performance in low-temperature AnMBR by supporting syntrophy and methanogenesis in the membrane biofilm through controlled membrane fouling.

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Accession: 058291376

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26238293

DOI: 10.1111/1751-7915.12311


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