Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) play a crucial role in wastewater treatment, but they face considerable challenges due to fouling. To tackle this issue, innovative strategies are needed. This study investigated the effectiveness of membrane reciprocation and quorum quenching (QQ) to control fouling in MBRs. The study compared MBRs using membrane reciprocation (30 rpm) and QQ (injecting media containing 100 or 200 mg/L BH4) with conventional MBRs employing different air-scouring intensities. The results demonstrated that combining membrane reciprocation (30 rpm) with QQ (200 mg/L BH4) significantly extended the service time of MBRs, making it approximately six times longer than conventional methods. Moreover, this approach reduced physically reversible resistance. The reduction in signal molecules related to biofouling due to QQ showcased its critical role in controlling biofouling, even under high shear caused by membrane reciprocation. However, the impact of QQ on microbial community structure appeared relatively insignificant when compared to factors such as operation time, aeration intensity, and membrane reciprocation. By combining membrane reciprocation and QQ, the study achieved a remarkable 81 % energy saving compared to extensive aeration (103 s−1 in velocity gradient), in addition to the extended service time. Importantly, this combined antifouling approach did not negatively affect microbial characteristics and wastewater treatment, emphasizing its effectiveness in MBRs. Overall, the findings of this study offer valuable insights for developing synergistic fouling control strategies in MBRs, significantly improving the energy efficiency of the wastewater treatment process.
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