Flux-Dependent Fouling Phenomena in Membrane Bioreactors under Different Food to Microorganisms (F/M) Ratios

Bing Wu*, Tamotsu Kitade, Tzyy Haur Chong, Jia Yi Lee, Tadahiro Uemura, Anthony G. Fane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigated the effect of food to microorganisms (F/M) ratios in the MBRs on membrane fouling propensities at fluxes of 10, 20, and 30 L/m2 hr (LMH). The high F/M-MBR had different biomass properties, more soluble extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), and faster fouling rate compared to the low F/M-MBR. However, the fouling mechanisms at the three fluxes were dissimilar. At a low flux, the microbial flocs dominant cake layers facilitated catching the soluble EPS to increase resistance. At a high flux, the great accumulation of soluble EPS (especially soluble polysaccharides) to form gel-like cake layers predominantly induced membrane fouling. Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Separation Science and Technology to view the free supplemental file.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-848
Number of pages9
JournalSeparation Science and Technology (Philadelphia)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore in cooperation with Toray Industries, Inc. The Environment and Water Industry Development Council of Singapore is also acknowledged for funding the Singapore Membrane Technology Centre (SMTC), Nanyang Technological University.

Other keywords

  • adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)
  • fouling rate
  • soluble polysaccharides
  • transparent exopolymer particles (TEP)


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