This study demonstrates the combined effect of quorum quenching (QQ) and backwashing on biofouling control in MBR treating real wastewater. The quorum quenching mechanism is an emerging biological technique using Rhodococcus sp. entrapped in polymer coated sodium alginate beads whereas, backwashing is a distinguished physical technique for biofouling control. Two parallel semi-pilot scale MBRs i.e., QQ-MBR (quorum quenching MBR) with cell-entrapping beads (CEBs) and C-MBR (conventional MBR) with vacant CEBs at 0.5% effective volume of the bioreactor, were monitored for comparative performance evaluation. In the first phase, both the MBRs were operated without backwashing having operational cycle of eight min filtration and two min relaxation and in the second phase; MBRs were operated with backwashing having operation cycle of eight min filtration, one min relaxation and one min backwashing. QQ-MBR¬ with backwashing exhibited greater biofouling control capability and elongated filtration duration with respect to QQ-MBR without backwashing. Comparatively less soluble EPS concentrations were detected in QQ-MBR as compare to C-MBR in both modes of operation while backwashing contributed to retard the rapid increase in trans-membrane pressure (TMP) also known as TMP jump. Study reveals the novelty of successful application of combined influence of permeate backflushing technique and QQ (anti-biofouling) strategy in MBR and potential use for full scale applications.

Ghalib Hasnain, Sher Jamal Khan, Muhammad Zeshan Arshad and Haris Yar Abdullah