Membrane Bioreactors or MBRs are like sheets of fabric (membranes) that filter wastewater with the aid of suspended solids.  As biofouling occurs, the membrane pores start to fill up with microorganisms that produce slime, which can lead to Nocardia, foaming, and polysaccharides.  As biofouling continues, foaming becomes unruly and membranes become plugged.

Biofouling mycobacterium

Mycobacterium During Biofouling

One of the leading microorganisms in biofouling is Mycobacterium.  Mycobacterium is known to possess a resistance to disinfectants due to it’s cellular structure.  It’s cell wall contains an exterior layer or long-chain, hydrophobic mycolic acids and surface glycolipids, bonded internally.  Essentially the mycobacterium’s cell is 60 percent lipids.  The use of disinfectants is a common approach to handling biofouling, but Aquafix highly recommends operators stay away from this tactic as it kills off the important biology.

The best practice at cleaning up any MBR is the use of Qwik-Zyme L and Foam Buster.   Both products will break down the lipids and long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) and improve bacterial digestion.  A biological approach will clear the effects of biofouling and clean the membrane filtration system.  The advanced catalysts in Qwik-Zyme L and biostimulants in Foam Buster heavily break down fats, oils, greases, long-chain fatty acids, polysaccharides and bacteria produced slime.

MBR Biofouling

Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) up close


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