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Open AccessArticle

Combined Effect of Colloids and SMP on Membrane Fouling in MBRs

1
Laboratory of Technologies of Environmental Protection and Utilization of Food By-Products, Department of Food Science and Technology, International Hellenic University, GR-57400 Thessaloniki, Greece
2
Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR-54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Membranes 2020, 10(6), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10060118
Received: 11 May 2020 / Revised: 3 June 2020 / Accepted: 4 June 2020 / Published: 6 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Membrane Bioreactors)
Membrane fouling investigations in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are a top research issue. The aim of this work is to study the combined effect of colloids and soluble microbial products (SMPs) on membrane fouling. Two lab-pilot MBRs were investigated for treating two types of wastewater (wwt), synthetic and domestic. Transmembrane pressure (TMP), SMP, particle size distribution and treatment efficiency were evaluated. Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) removal and nitrification were successful for both kinds of sewage reaching up to 95–97% and 100%, respectively. Domestic wwt presented 5.5 times more SMP proteins and 11 times more SMP carbohydrates compared to the synthetic one. In contrast, synthetic wwt had around 20% more colloids in the mixed liquor with a size lower than membrane pore size (<400 nm) than domestic. Finally, the TMP at 36 days reached 16 kPa for synthetic wwt and 11 kPa for domestic. Therefore, synthetic wwt, despite its low concentration of SMPs, caused severe membrane fouling compared to domestic, a result that is attributed to the increased concentration of colloids. Consequently, the quantity of colloids and possibly their special characteristics play decisive and more important roles in membrane fouling compared to the SMP—a novel conclusion that can be used to mitigate membranes fouling. View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane fouling; particle size distribution; SMP; EPS; synthetic wastewater; domestic wastewater membrane fouling; particle size distribution; SMP; EPS; synthetic wastewater; domestic wastewater
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MDPI and ACS Style

Banti, D.; Mitrakas, M.; Fytianos, G.; Tsali, A.; Samaras, P. Combined Effect of Colloids and SMP on Membrane Fouling in MBRs. Membranes 2020, 10, 118.

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