Membrane performance and fouling behavior of membrane bioreactors installed in marine recirculating aquaculture systems

A. B. Holan*, P. A. Wold, T. O. Leiknes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Accumulation of fine suspended solids and colloids in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) can be avoided by integrating a membrane filtration unit into the system, where the inclusion of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) may be an alternative. The main purpose of the study was to identify how the feeding regime affected membrane performance and fouling phenomena caused by dissolved and submicron colloidal particles in the system, and how the membrane impacted general water quality and particle characterization. To be able to evaluate membrane performance and fouling behavior, transmembrane pressure (TMP) was monitored and assessed in relation to changes in rearing conditions and different water quality parameters observed. From this study the positive influence on the chosen water quality parameters was apparent, where an improved water quality was observed when including a membrane filtration in RAS. Selected water quality parameters and TMP changed during the experimental period in response to the feeding regime, where algae paste, decaying rotifers and dry feed seemed to contribute the most to membrane fouling. Analysis of the concentration of submicron particles and particle size distribution (PSD) (particles. <. 1. μm) showed both a higher concentration and a more spread distribution in the rotifer/algae paste and dry feed period compared to the Artemia period, which might explain the observed increase in fouling. This study also showed that adapted procedures for concentrate removal are important to prevent hydrolysis of retained particles in the concentrate and leakage of nutrients and organic matter back to the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalAquacultural Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Colloids
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Membrane filtration
  • Membrane fouling
  • RAS
  • Recirculating aquaculture system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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