Characterization of soluble microbial products and their fouling impacts in membrane bioreactors

Tao Jiang, Maria Dolores Kennedy, Veerle D. Schepper, Seongnam Nam, Ingmar Nopens, Peter A. Vanrolleghem, Gary L. Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Membrane bioreactor (MBR) fouling is not only influenced by the soluble microbial products (SMP) concentration but by their characteristics. Experiments of separate producing biomass associated products (BAP) and utilization associated products (UAP) allowed the separation of BAP and UAP effects from sludge water (SW). Thus, filtration of individual SMP components and further characterization becomes possible. Unstirred cell filtration was used to study fouling mechanisms and liquid chromatography-organic carbon detection (LC-OCD) and fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) were used to characterize the foulant. Generally, the SMP exhibiting characteristics of higher molecular weight, greater hydrophilicity and a more reduced state showed a higher retention percentage. However, the higher retention does not always yield higher fouling effects. The UAP filtration showed the highest specific cake resistance and pore blocking resistance attributed to their higher percentage of low molecular weight molecules, although their retention percentage was lower than the SW and BAP filtration. The UAP produced in the cell proliferation phase appeared to have the highest fouling potential. © 2010 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6642-6648
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry


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