Effects of a low-strength magnetic field on the characteristics of activated sludge for membrane fouling mitigation
This study aims to investigate the performance of a low-strength magnetic field in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for membrane fouling mitigation and its effects on sludge characteristics and microbial community. The continuous operation of MBR with magnetic powder (MP-MBR) is denoted as the control-MBR, and a magnetic field is added to the MP-MBR to form the magnetic-MBR (M-MBR). The comparison between MP-MBR and M-MBR was conducted to treat synthetic wastewater. The results showed that the application of a low-strength magnetic field not only decreased the zeta potential and increased the particle size, but also improved the dehydrogenase activity and stimulated microbes to produce fewer SMPs, which markedly contributed to the improved filtration performance of MBRs. The variations in the microbial communities from the two MBRs at genus levels confirmed that the addition of a low-strength magnetic field significantly affected the microbial community and composition, further altered the microbial metabolites, and consequently affected the membrane fouling evolution.