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

Lookup NU author(s): Shamas Tabraiz, Dr Evangelos Petropoulos, Dr Burhan ShamuradORCiD, Marcos Quintela-Baluja, Sanjay Mohapatra, Dr Kishor AcharyaORCiD, Alex Charlton-Milligan, Professor Russell DavenportORCiD, Dr Jan DolfingORCiD, Dr Paul Sallis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2021 Elsevier LtdQuorum 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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tabraiz S, Petropoulos E, Shamurad B, Quintela-Baluja M, Mohapatra S, Acharya K, Charlton A, Davenport RJ, Dolfing J, Sallis PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2021

Volume: 293

Print publication date: 01/09/2021

Online publication date: 11/06/2021

Acceptance date: 10/05/2021

Date deposited: 21/07/2021

ISSN (print): 0301-4797

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8630

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112947


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