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- Comparative pyrosequencing analysis of bacterial community change in biofilm formed on seawater reverse osmosis membrane. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Environ Technol 2014 Jan-Feb; 35(1-4):125-36.
The change in bacterial community structure induced by bacterial competition and succession was investigated during seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) in order to elucidate a possible link between the bacterial consortium on SWRO membranes and biofouling. To date, there has been no definitive characterization of the microbial diversity in SWRO in terms of distinguishing time-dependent changes in the richness or abundance of bacterial species. For bacterial succession within biofilms on the membrane surface, SWRO using a cross-flow filtration membrane test unit was operated for 5 and 100h, respectively. As results of the pyrosequencing analysis, bacterial communities differed considerably among seawater and the 5 and 100 h samples. From a total of 33,876 pyrosequences (using a 95% sequence similarity), there were less than 1% of shared species, confirming the influence of the operational time factor and lack of similarity of these communities. During SWRO operation, the abundance of Pseudomonas stutzeri BBSPN3 (GU594474) belonging to gamma-Proteobacteria suggest that biofouling of SWRO membrane might be driven by the dominant influence of a specific species. In addition, among the bacterial competition of five bacterial species (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus sp., Rhodobacter sp., Flavobacterium sp., and Mycobacterium sp.) competing for bacterial colonization on the SWRO membrane surfaces, it was exhibited that Bacillus sp. was the most dominant. The dominant influences ofPseudomonas sp. and Bacillus sp. on biofouling during actual SWRO is decisive depending on higher removal efficiency of the seawater pretreatment.
- Evaluation of the use of reverse osmosis to eliminate natural radionuclides from water samples. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Water Environ Res 2013 Dec; 85(12):2265-70.
The objective of drinking water treatment plants (DWTP) is to supply the population with tap water that is in optimal condition and in compliance with water quality regulations. In the DWTP of L'Ampolla (Tarragona, Spain), slightly high values of gross alpha activity and the amount of salts in the raw water have been observed. Conventional treatment has reduced these levels only minimally. This study tested a tertiary treatment based on reverse osmosis is tested in an industrial pilot plant (240 m3/day) The efficiency of this pilot plant to reduce the gross alpha and beta activities and the activity of some individual radioisotopes (U(238), U(234), U(235) and Ra(226)) was tested. Results showed that the elimination of alpha emitters was greater than 90%, whereas the elimination of beta emitters was about 35%. Overall, the data provided evidence that the pilot plant is effective for removing different radionuclides that can be present in the incoming water treated. Therefore, tertiary treatment based on reverse osmosis has a positive effect in water quality.
- Spinning Janus doublets driven in uniform ac electric fields. [Journal Article]
- Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 2014 Jan; 89(1-1):011003.
We provide an experimental proof of concept for a robust, continuously rotating microstructure-consisting of two metallodielectric (gold-polystyrene) Janus particles rigidly attached to each other-which is driven in uniform ac fields by asymmetric induced-charge electro-osmosis. The pairs (doublets) are stabilized on the substrate surface which is parallel to the plane of view and normal to the direction of the applied electric field. We find that the radius of orbit and angular velocity of the pair are predominantly dependent on the relative orientations of the interfaces between the metallic and dielectric hemispheres and that the electrohydrodynamic particle-particle interactions are small. Additionally, we verify that both the angular and linear velocities of the pair are proportional to the square of the applied field which is consistent with the theory for nonlinear electrokinetics. A simple kinematic rigid body model is used to predict the paths and doublet velocities (angular and linear) based on their relative orientations with good agreement.
- 'Should I stay or should I go?' Bacterial attachment vs biofilm formation on surface-modified membranes. [Journal Article]
- Biofouling 2014 Mar; 30(3):367-76.
A number of techniques are used for testing the anti-biofouling activity of surfaces, yet the correlation between different results is often questionable. In this report, the correlation between initial bacterial deposition (fast tests, reported previously) and biofilm growth (much slower tests) was analyzed on a pristine and a surface-modified reverse osmosis membrane ESPA-1. The membrane was modified with grafted hydrophilic polymers bearing negatively charged, positively charged and zwitter-ionic moieties. Using three different bacterial strains it was found that there was no general correlation between the initial bacterial deposition rates and biofilm growth on surfaces, the reasons being different for each modified surface. For the negatively charged surface the slowest deposition due to the charge repulsion was eventually succeeded by the largest biofilm growth, probably due to secretion of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that mediated a strong attachment. For the positively charged surface, short-term charge attraction by quaternary amine groups led to the fastest deposition, but could be eventually overridden by their antimicrobial activity, resulting in non-consistent results where in some cases a lower biofilm formation rate was observed. The results indicate that initial deposition rates have to be used and interpreted with great care, when used for assessing the anti-biofouling activity of surfaces. However, for a weakly interacting 'low-fouling' zwitter-ionic surface, the positive correlation between initial cell deposition and biofilm growth, especially under flow, suggests that for this type of coating initial deposition tests may be fairly indicative of anti-biofouling potential.
- All-Nanoparticle Layer by Layer Surface Modification of Micro and Ultrafiltration Membranes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Langmuir 2014 Feb 25.
Layer by Layer (LbL) deposition using primarily inorganic silica nanoparticles is employed for the surface modification of polymeric micro and ultrafiltration (MF/UF) membranes to produce novel thin film composite (TFC) membranes intended for nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) applications. A wide variety of porous substrate membranes with different surface characteristics are successfully employed. This report gives detailed results for polycarbonate track etched (PCTE), polyethersulfone (PES) and sulfonated PES (SPEES) MF/UF substrates. Both spherical (cationic/anionic) and eccentric elongated (anionic) silica nanoparticles are deposited using conditions similar to those in prior works for solid substrates (e.g. Lee et al.1). Appropriate selection of the pH for anionic and cationic particle deposition enables the construction of nanoparticle only layers 100 -1200 nm in thickness atop the original porous membrane substrates. The surface layer thickness appears to vary linearly with the number of bilayers deposited i.e. with the number of anionic/cationic deposition cycles. The deposition process is optimized to eliminate drying induced cracking and to improve mechanical durability via thickness control and post-deposition hydro-thermal treatment. "Dead-end" permeation tests using dextran standards reveal the hydraulic characteristics and separations capability for the PCTE based TFC membranes. The results show that nanoparticle based LbL surface modification of MF and UF rated media can produce TFC membranes with NF capabilities.
- Mining Nutrients (N, K, P) from Urban Source-Separated Urine by Forward Osmosis Dewatering. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Sci Technol 2014 Mar 7.
Separating urine from domestic wastewater promotes a more sustainable municipal wastewater treatment system. This study investigated the feasibility of applying a forward osmosis (FO) dewatering process for nutrient recovery from source-separated urine under different conditions, using seawater or desalination brine as a low-cost draw solution. The filtration process with the active layer facing feed solution exhibited relatively high water fluxes up to 20 L/m(2)-h. The process also revealed relatively low rejection to neutral organic nitrogen (urea-N) in fresh urine but improved rejection of ammonium (50-80%) in hydrolyzed urine and high rejection (>90%) of phosphate, potassium in most cases. Compared to simulation based on the solution-diffusion mechanism, higher water flux and solute flux were obtained using fresh or hydrolyzed urine as the feed, which was attributed to the intensive forward nutrient permeation (i.e., of urea, ammonium, and potassium). Membrane fouling could be avoided by prior removal of the spontaneously precipitated crystals in urine. Compared to other urine treatment options, the current process was cost-effective and environmentally friendly for nutrient recovery from urban wastewater at source, yet a comprehensive life-cycle impact assessment might be needed to evaluate and optimize the overall system performance at pilot and full scale operation.
- Electrochemical mineral scale prevention and removal on electrically conducting carbon nanotube - polyamide reverse osmosis membranes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Environ Sci Process Impacts 2014 Feb 24.
The electrochemical prevention and removal of CaSO4 and CaCO3 mineral scales on electrically conducting carbon nanotube - polyamide reverse osmosis membrane was investigated. Different electrical potentials were applied to the membrane surface while filtering model scaling solutions with high saturation indices. Scaling progression was monitored through flux measurements. CaCO3 scale was efficiently removed from the membrane surface through the intermittent application of a 2.5 V potential to the membrane surface, when the membrane acted as an anode. Water oxidation at the anode, which led to proton formation, resulted in the dissolution of deposited CaCO3 crystals. CaSO4 scale formation was significantly retarded through the continuous application of 1.5 V DC to the membrane surface, when the membrane was operated as an anode. The continuous application of a sufficient electrical potential to the membrane surface leads to the formation of a thick layer of counter-ions along the membrane surface that pushed CaSO4 crystal formation away from the membrane surface, allowing the formed crystals to be carried away by the cross-flow. We developed a simple model, based on a modified Poisson-Boltzmann equation, which qualitatively explained our observed experimental results.
- Sensitivity of hematocrit to osmotic effects induced by changes in dialysate conductivity: Implications for relative blood volume measurement and control. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- ASAIO J 2014 Feb 20.
Hemodialysis is accompanied by osmotic perturbations with distinct effects on red blood cell, plasma, and blood volumes. A series of in-vitro studies was done to analyze the separate effect on cell volume.Whole porcine blood was circulated through an extracorporeal circulation maintaining a constant blood volume. Hemoconcentration was continuously measured by established optical and ultrasonic on-line techniques. Osmotic perturbation was performed by variation of dialysate conductivity within the clinical range of 13 to 15 mS/cm. Blood samples were analyzed using a microcentrifuge and a standard cell counter.As dialysate conductivity increased, centrifuge hematocrit (in %) decreased with a slope of -1.91% per unit of conductivity in mS/cm (r=0.98). At the same time, Coulter-Counter hematocrit slightly decreased only by -0.18% (r=0.53) while optical and ultrasonic hematocrit showed a small increase by 0.44% (r=0.97) and 0.69% (r=0.94) per unit of conductivity in mS/cm.The sensitivity to osmotic perturbation is consistent with theory and with specific characteristics of measuring techniques used in this study. The differences, however, need to be considered when comparing measurements obtained by different techniques. Finally, devices used for relative blood volume measurement in hemodialysis should be insensitive to osmosis-induced changes in red blood cell volume.
- Effect of silica fouling on the removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products by nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Hazard Mater 2014 Jan 24.
In this study, one reverse osmosis (XLE) and two nanofiltration (NF90 and NF270) membranes were fouled by silica to evaluate its effect on the flux decline as well as the removal of six pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) including carbamazapine (CBZ), triclosan (TRI), ibuprofen (IBU), sulfadiazine (DIA), sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and sulfamethazine (SMZ) from pH 3 to 10. The membranes were characterized by physicochemical properties including hydrophobicity, surface morphology and PPCPs adsorption with or without the presence of silica fouling to validate the rejection mechanisms of PPCPs. The fouling mechanisms were investigated using the modified Hermia model. It was found that all membranes with silica fouling showed more severe permeate flux decline at low pHs (3 and 5) than at high pHs (8 and 10) by the decomposition of nonionized silica particles to form a dense gel layer on membrane surfaces, which was hard to be removed by backwash. Silica fouling rendered the membrane surface considerably more hydrophilic, and only IBU, TRI and SMZ were adsorbed on membranes. Silica fouling on tight membranes (NF90 and XLE) can promote rejection of most PPCPs because the dense fouling layer could supply membrane with synergistic steric hindrance to reduce the transportation of PPCPs across membrane surface, implying that size exclusion is the dominating mechanism. While for loose NF270, electrostatic repulsion dominates by enhanced rejection of PPCPs as pH increased. Although fouling layer could provide extra steric hindrance for NF270, its effect was overwhelmed by the accompanied cake-enhanced concentration polarization phenomenon (CEOP). CEOP impeded back diffusion of PPCPs into the feed solution, trapped and accumulated PPCPs on membrane surface so as to increase their diffusion across membrane. At all pH levels, intermediate blocking and gel layer formation was the major fouling mechanism for tight and loose membrane, respectively.
- Solar membrane distillation: desalination for the Navajo Nation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Rev Environ Health 2014 Feb 19.
Abstract Provision of clean water is among the most serious, long-term challenges in the world. To an ever increasing degree, sustainable water supply depends on the utilization of water of impaired initial quality. This is particularly true in developing nations and in water-stressed areas such as the American Southwest. One clear example is the Navajo Nation. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles, mainly in northeastern Arizona. Low population density coupled with water scarcity and impairment makes provision of clean water particularly challenging. The Navajos rely primarily on ground water, which is often present in deep aquifers or of brackish quality. Commonly, reverse osmosis (RO) is chosen to desalinate brackish ground water, since RO costs are competitive with those of thermal desalination, even for seawater applications. However, both conventional thermal distillation and RO are energy intensive, complex processes that discourage decentralized or rural implementation. In addition, both technologies demand technical experience for operation and maintenance, and are susceptible to scaling and fouling unless extensive feed pretreatment is employed. Membrane distillation (MD), driven by vapor pressure gradients, can potentially overcome many of these drawbacks. MD can operate using low-grade, sub-boiling sources of heat and does not require extensive operational experience. This presentation discusses a project on the Navajo Nation, Arizona (Native American tribal lands) that is designed to investigate and deploy an autonomous (off-grid) system to pump and treat brackish groundwater using solar energy. Βench-scale, hollow fiber MD experiment results showed permeate water fluxes from 21 L/m2·d can be achieved with transmembrane temperature differences between 40 and 80˚C. Tests run with various feed salt concentrations indicate that the permeate flux decreases only about 25% as the concentration increases from 0 to 14% (w/w), which is four times seawater salt concentration. The quality of the permeate water remains constant at about 1 mg/L regardless of the changes in the influent salt concentration. A nine-month MD field trial, using hollow fiber membranes and completely off-the-shelf components demonstrated that a scaled-up solar-driven MD system was practical and economically viable. Based on these results, a pilot scale unit will be constructed and deployed on the tribal lands.