Temperature and immigration effects on quorum sensing in the biofilms of anaerobic membrane bioreactors

Shamas Tabraiz*, Evangelos Petropoulos, Burhan Shamurad, Marcos Quintela-Baluja, Sanjeeb Mohapatra, Kishor Acharya, Alex Charlton, Russell J. Davenport, Jan Dolfing, Paul J. Sallis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Quorum sensing (QS), a microbial communication mechanism modulated by acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) molecules impacts biofilm formation in bioreactors. This study investigated the effects of temperature and immigration on AHL levels and biofouling in anaerobic membrane bioreactors. The hypothesis was that the immigrant microbial community would increase the AHL-mediated QS, thus stimulating biofouling and that low temperatures would exacerbate this. We observed that presence of immigrants, especially when exposed to low temperatures indeed increased AHL concentrations and fouling in the biofilms on the membranes. At low temperature, the concentrations of the main AHLs observed, N-dodecanoyl-L-homoserine lactone and N-decanoyl-L-homoserine lactone, were significantly higher in the biofilms than in the sludge and correlated significantly with the abundance of immigrant bacteria. Apparently low temperature, immigration and denser community structure in the biofilm stressed the communities, triggering AHL production and excretion. These insights into the social behaviour of reactor communities responding to low temperature and influx of immigrants have implications for biofouling control in bioreactors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112947
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date11 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


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