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Inhibiting quorum sensing pathways to mitigate seawater desalination RO membrane biofouling

Katebian, L., Gomez, E., Skillman, L., Li, D., Ho, G. and Jiang, S.C. (2016) Inhibiting quorum sensing pathways to mitigate seawater desalination RO membrane biofouling. Desalination, 393 . pp. 135-143.

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Bacterial biofilm formation, the main cause of membrane biofouling, is a crucial issue for membrane separation. Biofilm production is regulated by quorum sensing (QS) systems where bacteria secrete auto-inducers to communicate with neighboring bacteria. This research identified that several marine bacteria isolated from a desalination plant produced a low molecular weight auto-inducer 1 (AI-1) signaling molecule. AI-1 production in the mixed culture of the four different biofilm-forming marine bacteria was greater than in individual bacterial cultures. The QS inhibiting compounds, vanillin and cinnamaldehyde at 1200. mg/L significantly reduced biofilm formed by these marine bacteria by more than 79% and 70%, respectively in a microtiter plate assay. Anti-biofilm capabilities of vanillin and cinnamaldehyde were further assessed in a reverse osmosis membrane bio-monitoring system using mixed bacterial cultures and native uncultured bacterial communities in natural seawater. Confocal microscopy showed vanillin (1200. mg/L) significantly reduced biofilm extracellular polysaccharides and dead cells on the membrane surface (>. 40%, >. 20%). These results indicate that QS inhibitors have the potential to remediate membrane biofouling.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2016 Elsevier B.V.
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