Managing microbial communities in membrane biofilm reactors
Membrane biofilm reactors (MBfRs) deliver gaseous substrates to biofilms that develop on the outside of gas-transfer membranes. When an MBfR delivers electron donors hydrogen (H2) or methane (CH4), a wide range of oxidized contaminants can be reduced as electron acceptors, e.g., nitrate, perchlorate, selenate, and trichloroethene. When O2 is delivered as an electron acceptor, reduced contaminants can be oxidized, e.g., benzene, toluene, and surfactants. The MBfR’s biofilm often harbors a complex microbial community; failure to control the growth of undesirable microorganisms can result in poor performance. Fortunately, the community’s structure and function can be managed using a set of design and operation features as follows: gas pressure, membrane type, and surface loadings. Proper selection of these features ensures that the best microbial community is selected and sustained. Successful design and operation of an MBfR depends on a holistic understanding of the microbial community’s structure and function. This involves integrating performance data with omics results, such as with stoichiometric and kinetic modeling.
KeywordsMembrane biofilm reactors Microbial community Biofilm Gaseous substrates
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Eberl HJ, Morgenroth E, Noguera D, Picioreanu C, Rittmann BE, van Loosdrecht MCM, Wanner O (2006) Mathematical Modeling of Biofilms, IWA Scientific and Technical Report No.18; IWA Publishers, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Maymo-Gatell X, Tandoi V, Gossett JM, Zinder SH (1995) Characterization of an H2-utilizing enrichment culture that reductively dechlorinates tetrachloroethene to vinyl-chloride and ethene in the absence of methanogenesis and acetogenesis. Appl Environ Microbiol 61(11):3928–3933PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Ontiveros-Valencia A, Tang Y, Zhao H-P, Friese D, Overstreet R, Smith J, Evans P, Rittmann BE, Krajmalnik-Brown R (2014b) Pyrosequencing analysis yields comprehensive assessment of microbial communities in pilot-scale two-stage membrane biofilm reactors. Environ Sci Technol 48(13):7511–7518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Scherer P, Sahm H (1981) Effect of trace elements and vitamins on the growth of Methanosarcina barkeri. Eng Life Sci 1(1):57–65Google Scholar
- Zemskaya TI, Pogodaeva TV, Shubenkova OV, Сhernitsina SM, Dagurova OP, Buryukhaev SP, Namsaraev BB, Khlystov OM, Egorov AV, Krylov AA (2010) Geochemical and microbiological characteristics of sediments near the Malenky mud volcano (Lake Baikal, Russia), with evidence of archaea intermediate between the marine anaerobic methanotrophs ANME-2 and ANME-3. Geo-Mar Lett 30(3–4):411–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Zhao H-P, Ontiveros-Valencia A, Tang Y, Kim BO, Ilhan ZE, Krajmalnik-Brown R, Rittmann B (2013a) Using a two-stage hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) to achieve complete perchlorate reduction in the presence of nitrate and sulfate. Environ Sci Technol 47(3):1565–1572CrossRefGoogle Scholar