Effects of salinity on the characteristics of biomass and membrane fouling in membrane bioreactors

D. Jang, Yuhoon Hwang, H. Shin, W. Lee

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This study investigated the effects of high salinity on the performance and membrane fouling of membrane bioreactor (MBR) with saline wastewater. Synthetic wastewaters containing 5-20g/L salts (NaCl) were treated in identical lab-scale (7L) MBRs monitoring removals of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and ammonia. Increase in salt concentrations did not significantly change the removal efficiency of DOC in the MBRs. However, the ammonia removals decreased from 87% to 46% with increasing salt concentrations. PCR-DGGE analysis indicated changes in the microbial communities' composition due to high salinity; and the changes in microbial composition in turn have affected the performance of the MBRs. Membrane fouling was accelerated by the increased pore blocking resistance at higher salt concentrations. Analysis results of physicochemical and biological characteristics of biomass (EPS, floc size, zeta potential) verified the impacts of high salinity on the increased membrane fouling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioresource Technology
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Salinity
  • Membrane fouling
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Biomass characteristics

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