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Project ID:2006NM41B

Title: Mitigation of Membane Biofouling by Harnessing Bacterial Cannibalism (Huang)

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 01/01/2007

Congressional District: Three

Focus Categories: Treatment, Water Quality Conservation

Keywords: produced water, water treatment, bacteria, desalination, membrane biofouling

Principal Investigator: Huang, Frank

Federal Funds: $10,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $4,710

Abstract: Millions of barrels of produced water are generated during gas production in New Mexico each year. While not drinkable because of the high salt content, trace organics, and heavy metals, produced water can be treated for agricultural and industrial purposes. Using produced water for industrial purposes would free up freshwater for other uses. A major problem with treating produced water with membrane separation, as is commonly done, is that its large-scale implementation has been plagued by the reoccurring biofouling of the membranes and the associated high operating costs. Conventional de-fouling techniques, such as acid and alkaline/detergent cleaning, are generally ineffective. This research looks at using bacteria's ability to "eat" their neighboring siblings under nutrient-limited conditions and feed on the released nutrients. This "cannibalism" may be used to control membrane biofouling.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 03, 2008
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