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Feasibility Study on Biocontrol of Membrane Biofouling using Lytic Bacteriophages

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Viruses that infect and lyse bacteria are ubiquitous, abundant and biologically important in the environment. Although viruses are abundant in the wastewater treatment systems, little is known about their biological control of membrane biofouling using bacteriophage infecting biofilm forming bacteria such as P. aeruginosa. A lytic phage to infect P. aeruginosa was isolated from a full scale wastewater treatment plant. The idea was to control biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa using lytic phages. The isolated lytic phage infecting P. aeruginosa morphologically belongs to the Myoviridae family with an isometric head and a contractile tail. Titer of the isolated phage with P. aeruginosa was calculated to be 5.32 ± 1.1× 106PFU/ mL and burst size was found to be 113 ± 17 PFU/infected cell. Scanning electron micrographs confirmed that specific phage could extensively degrade biofilm produced from P. aeruginosa. This phage did not affect any other liquid cultures relevant in activated sludge treatment, suggesting no collateral damage to other bacteria. Bacteriophage–based biocontrol promises a great potential to mitigate biofilm formation in membrane systems.
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Keywords: Bacteriophage; Biofilm; Membrane; Pseudomonas; Virus; biofouling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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