Marine bacterial transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) and TEP precursors: Characterization and RO fouling potential

Sheng Li, Harvey Winters, Sanghyun Jeong, Abdul-Hamid M. Emwas, Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran, Gary L. Amy

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42 Scopus citations


This paper investigated the characteristics and membrane fouling potential of bacterial transparent exopolymer particles (TEP)/TEP precursors released from two marine bacteria, Pseudidiomarina homiensis (P. homiensis) and Pseudoalteromonas atlantica (P. atlantica), isolated from the Red Sea. Results showed that both bacteria grew at the similar rate, but the production of TEP/TEP precursors from P. atlantica was higher than that from P. homiensis. During the 168. h of incubation time, production rates of TEP/TEP precursors from P. atlantica and P. homiensis were 0.30 and 0.08 xanthan gum eq. mg/L-h, respectively. Isolated bacterial TEP precursors were mainly biopolymer, and P. atlantica produced a significantly higher concentration of biopolymer than that produced by P. homiensis. TEP/TEP precursors from both marine bacteria possessed protein-like material and were very similar in composition to previously reported foulants isolated from a fouled reverse osmosis (RO) membrane. Bacterial TEP/TEP precursors mostly consisted of aliphatic hydrocarbon from amino acids and amide group carbon of proteins (around 55%). Bacterial TEP precursors caused obvious fouling on RO membranes, which may create an ideal environment for bacteria attachment and promote to biofouling.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Oct 31 2015

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the financial support of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia, which is funded by the Australian Government through the Water for the Future initiative.


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