• 1 School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, University of Science Malaysia, Nibong Tebal, 14300, Malaysia
Water Environ Res, 2021 Jan 23.
PMID: 33484623 DOI: 10.1002/wer.1515


Membrane distillation (MD) frequently deals with membrane biofouling caused by deposition of algal organic matter (AOM) from algal blooms, hampering the treatment efficiency. In this study, AOMs, which are soluble extracellular polymeric substance (sEPS), bounded EPS (bEPS), and internal organic matter (IOM) from three benthic species (Amphora coffeaeformis, Cylindrotheca fusiformis, and Navicula incerta) were exposed to a temperature range to resemble the MD process. Results showed that EPS had higher polysaccharide fraction than protein with 85.71%, 68.26%, and 71.91% for A. coffeaeformis, N. incerta, and C. fusiformis, respectively. Both the EPS polysaccharide and protein concentration linearly increase with temperature, but the opposite was true for IOM and high-molecular-weight (HMW) polysaccharide. At 80°C, 5812.94 μg/g out of 6304.28 μg/g polysaccharide in A. coffeaeformis was of low molecular weight (LMW); hence, these findings suggested that they were the major foulants to clog the narrow pores within virgin hydrophobic membrane, forming a conditioning layer followed by deposition of HMW and hydrophilic polysaccharides onto the macropores to cause irreversible fouling. Cell lysis occurring at higher temperature increases the total protein content about 25% within the EPS matrix, inducing membrane plugging via hydrophobic-hydrophobic interactions. Overall, the AOM composition at different temperatures will likely dictate the fouling severity in MD. PRACTITIONER POINTS: EPS production of three benthic diatoms was the highest at 80°C. EPS from diatoms consists of at least 75.29% of polysaccharides. Small molecular weight carbohydrates (<12 kDa) were potential foulants. Proteins of internal organic matter (>56%) give irreversible attachment towards membranes. A. coffeaeformis was considered as the most fouling diatoms with highest EPS amount of 6304.28 μg/g.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.