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Detection of low concentration of assimilable organic carbon in seawater prior to reverse osmosis membrane using microbial electrolysis cell biosensor

Quek, S-B, Cheng, L. and Cord-Ruwisch, R. (2014) Detection of low concentration of assimilable organic carbon in seawater prior to reverse osmosis membrane using microbial electrolysis cell biosensor. Desalination and Water Treatment, 55 (11). pp. 2885-2890.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19443994.2014.940224
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Abstract

Biofouling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is one of the most serious problems encountered for seawater desalination. This problem is commonly associated with a significant decline in flux, elevated energy requirement, and increased cost of operation. As the biofouling of the membranes is due to bacteria growing on the membrane, which is supported by assimilable organic carbon (AOC), a good AOC monitoring system is essential and crucial for RO biofouling prediction. This study focuses on the development of a new biosensor that is online, robust, and allows accurate quantification of AOC concentrations in seawater based on a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) principle. The biosensor is based on the quantification of the current generated by bacteria in the presence of AOC. The biosensor response to AOC was rapid (within 10 min) and sensitive (detection limit = 10 μM acetate) in seawater samples. The results reproducibly showed a linear relationship between trace amounts of AOC and electrochemical signals (R2> 0.99). The MEC-based biosensor developed can be effectively used as an online and rapid measure of AOC concentrations and hence as an indicator for biofouling potential of influent seawater prior to RO membrane.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Desalination Publications
Copyright: © 2014 Balaban Desalination Publications
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/23303
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