The role of extracellular organic matter on the cyanobacteria ultrafiltration process

Baoyou Shi , Huikai Liang , Xin Huang , Han Wang , Weiying Xu


Received March 08, 2021,Revised , Accepted March 10, 2021, Available online March 27, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 12-20

The membrane fouling caused by extracellular organic matter (EOM) and algal cells and organic matter removal of two typical cyanobacteria (M. aeruginosa and Pseudoanabaena sp.) during ultrafiltration (UF) process were studied in this work. The results showed that EOM had a broad molecular weight (Mw) distribution and the irreversible membrane fouling was basically caused by EOM. Moreover, humic acid and microbial metabolites were major components of EOM of two typical cyanobacteria. Since EOM could fill the voids of cake layers formed by the algal cells, EOM and algal cells played synergistic roles in membrane fouling. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis indicated that the CH2 and CH3 chemical bonds may play an important role in membrane fouling caused by EOM. Interestingly, the cake layer formed by the algal cells could trap the organic matter produced by algae and alleviate some irreversible membrane fouling. The results also showed that although the cake layer formed by the algal cells cause severe permeate flux decline, it could play a double interception role with UF membrane and increase organic matter removal efficiency. Therefore, when using UF to treat algae-laden water, the balance of membrane fouling and organic matter removal should be considered to meet the needs of practical applications.

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