Quorum sensing: an emerging link between temperature and membrane biofouling in membrane bioreactors

Chang Hyun Nahm, Keehong Kim, Sojin Min, Hosung Lee, Dowon Chae, Kibaek Lee, Kwang Ho Choo, Chung Hak Lee, Ismail Koyuncu, Pyung Kyu Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Lab-scale membrane bioreactors (MBRs) were investigated at 12, 18, and 25 °C to identify the correlation between quorum sensing (QS) and biofouling at different temperatures. The lower the reactor temperature, the more severe the membrane biofouling measured in terms of the transmembrane pressure (TMP) during filtration. More extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) that cause biofouling were produced at 18 °C than at 25 °C, particularly polysaccharides, closely associated with QS via the production of N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL). However, at 12 °C, AHL production decreased, but the release of EPSs due to deflocculation increased the soluble EPS concentration. To confirm the temperature effect related to QS, bacteria producing AHL were isolated from MBR sludge and identified as Aeromonas sp., Leclercia sp., and Enterobacter sp. through a 16S rDNA sequencing analysis. Batch assays at 18 and 25 °C showed that there was a positive correlation between QS through AHL and biofilm formation in that temperature range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No. 2016R1C1B1009544), and in part by the Yonsei University Research Fund of 2017.

FundersFunder number
Korean government
Yonsei University Research Fund of 2017
National Research Foundation of Korea
Ministry of Science ICT and Future Planning2016R1C1B1009544


    • Biofouling
    • extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs)
    • membrane bioreactor (MBR)
    • N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL)
    • quorum sensing
    • temperature


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