Impact of salinity on the population dynamics of microorganisms in a membrane bioreactor treating produced water

Borte Kose Mutlu*, Hale Ozgun, Mustafa Evren Ersahin, Recep Kaya, Selvihan Eliduzgun, Mahmut Altinbas, Cumali Kinaci, Ismail Koyuncu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Biomass characteristics may change subject to a salinity increase when treating high strength wastewater. In this study, the impact of salinity in a membrane bioreactor (MBR) was investigated for the treatment of produced water (PW). MBR was operated as a pre-treatment prior to nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO). Mixed PW, that was originated from different oil, gas, and oil-gas wells, were subjected to pre-treatment for 146 days including three different operational phases: Low-salinity (~10 mS/cm), gradual increased salinity (10–40 mS/cm) and high salinity (~40 mS/cm). The results of this study showed that microorganisms could adapt using real wastewater and treat PW up to a certain level of the salinity. At high salinity levels of PW, the floc structure started to be disrupted and membrane fouling was accelerated. PCR-DGGE analysis confirmed the changes in microbial communities’ composition in relation with high salinity. The results of the final treatment experiments presented that NF and RO treatment produced high-quality effluents that could be suitable for reuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1089
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


The authors thank Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) for providing the produced water and conducting SEM and EDX analyses. The authors would like to than Prof. Suleyman Ovez for microscopic examination of sludge samples. This study was financially supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) with the project number of 107G091 .

FundersFunder number
Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştirma Kurumu107G091


    • Membrane bioreactor
    • Microbial community
    • Nanofiltration
    • Produced water
    • Reverse osmosis
    • Salinity


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