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Quorum Quenching for Fouling Control in MBR

Technology Overview

Membrane bioreactors (MBR) have been widely used in full-scale plants for wastewater treatment and water reclamation due to its highly compact design and treatment efficiency, low sludge production, and excellent effluent quality. However, membrane fouling remains as a bottleneck for MBR operation as it severely reduces the flux and increases operating and maintenance costs, which accounts for around 60% of the overall operational cost. This technology utilises Alginate-Powder Activated Carbon - Quorum Quenching (APQ) beads to significantly slow down the membrane biofouling rate. This prolongs the membrane lifetime and reduces operational cost.

The tech offer provides a technology package, including production, storage, reactivation, recovery, and reuse methods of APQ beads. MBR technology providers can benefit from this technology to improve the competitiveness of their MBR product and end users can save on overall operational cost.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

This technology is developed based on embedding the quorum quenching bacteria into APQ beads to control the cell-cell communication signal, thereby retarding biofilm development on membrane.

Some features of the technology are as follows:

  1. The APQ beads can effectively control membrane fouling and improve sludge property
  2. APQ beads can be stored for more than 12 months without activity loss
  3. APQ beads can be directly applied to the existing MBR
  4. MBR fouling rate can be reduced by 5 times
  5. Used beads can be re-activated and reproduced

Potential Applications

The technology can be utilized for installed MBRs for treating diverse types of wastewater and waste streams.

Customer Benefit

MBR technology supplier can upgrade their product with APQ beads to increase products competitiveness in resisting membrane fouling. Water reclamation plant can reduce operation cost and chemical cost by using APQ beads assisted MBR to slow-down membrane fouling, reduce the chemical consumption and the cost for changing damaged membrane module due to frequent chemical cleaning.

Contact Person

Richard Hung


Singapore Membrane Consortium (SG MEM)

Technology Category

  • Environment, Clean Air/Water
  • Filter Membrane/Absorption Material

Technology Readiness Level


Membrane bioreactors MBR membrane fouling