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Issue 5, 2012
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Biofilm detachment by self-collapsing air microbubbles: a potential chemical-free cleaning technology for membrane biofouling

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Abstract

Microbubbles (MBs) have been known for their ability to generate pressure waves through shrinking and subsequent self-collapsing phenomenon. In the present study, we have investigated the potential of air MBs for biofilm detachment from a nylon membrane surface in comparison to chemical cleaning by sodium hypochloride (NaOCl). About 88% of fixed biomass detachment was observed after 1 h air microbubbling, while only 10% of biofilm detachment was achieved in the control experiment without microbubbles. Images taken with a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) clearly showed that nearly all extracellular polysaccharides and proteins in biofilms were removed from the membrane surface, indicating a complete disruption of the extracellular polymeric matrix of biofilms. It was further demonstrated that microbubbling is much more efficient than chemical cleaning with 0.5% NaOCl solution in terms of removal of fixed biomass and extracellular polysaccharides and proteins. This study provides experimental evidence showing that self-collapsing air MBs is a chemical-free and eco-friendly technology for biofilm detachment.

Graphical abstract: Biofilm detachment by self-collapsing air microbubbles: a potential chemical-free cleaning technology for membrane biofouling

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Sep 2011, accepted on 02 Nov 2011 and first published on 13 Dec 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1JM14439A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem., 2012,22, 2203-2207
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    Biofilm detachment by self-collapsing air microbubbles: a potential chemical-free cleaning technology for membrane biofouling

    A. Agarwal, H. Xu, W. J. Ng and Y. Liu, J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22, 2203
    DOI: 10.1039/C1JM14439A

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