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J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017 Mar 28;27(3):573-583. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1610.10007.

Mitigation of Membrane Biofouling in MBR Using a Cellulolytic Bacterium, Undibacterium sp. DM-1, Isolated from Activated Sludge.

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School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea.
Department of Environmental Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biomedicinal Science and Biotechnology, Paichai University, Daejeon 35345, Republic of Korea.
Pure Envitech Co., Ltd, Siheung 15116, Republic of Korea.
Department of Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University, Wonju 26439, Republic of Korea.


Biofilm formation on the membrane surface results in the loss of permeability in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for wastewater treatment. Studies have revealed that cellulose is not only produced by a number of bacterial species but also plays a key role during formation of their biofilm. Hence, in this study, cellulase was introduced to a MBR as a cellulose-induced biofilm control strategy. For practical application of cellulase to MBR, a cellulolytic (i.e., cellulase-producing) bacterium, Undibacterium sp. DM-1, was isolated from a lab-scale MBR for wastewater treatment. Prior to its application to MBR, it was confirmed that the cell-free supernatant of DM-1 was capable of inhibiting biofilm formation and of detaching the mature biofilm of activated sludge and cellulose-producing bacteria. This suggested that cellulase could be an effective anti-biofouling agent for MBRs used in wastewater treatment. Undibacterium sp. DM-1-entrapping beads (i.e., cellulolytic-beads) were applied to a continuous MBR to mitigate membrane biofouling 2.2-fold, compared with an MBR with vacant-beads as a control. Subsequent analysis of the cellulose content in the biofilm formed on the membrane surface revealed that this mitigation was associated with an approximately 30% reduction in cellulose by cellulolytic-beads in MBR.


Cellulose; Undibacterium sp. DM-1; anti-biofouling; cellulase; membrane bioreactors

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