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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.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 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.

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