Upon impact: the fate of adhering Pseudomonas fluorescens cells during Nanofiltration

Olivier Habimana, Andrea J. C. Semião, Eoin Casey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanofiltration (NF) is a high-pressure membrane filtration process increasingly applied in drinking water treatment and water reuse processes. NF typically rejects divalent salts, organic matter, and micropollutants. However, the efficiency of NF is adversely affected by membrane biofouling, during which microorganisms adhere to the membrane and proliferate to create a biofilm. Here we show that adhered Pseudomonas fluorescens cells under high permeate flux conditions are met with high fluid shear and convective fluxes at the membrane–liquid interface, resulting in their structural damage and collapse. These results were confirmed by fluorescent staining, flow cytometry, and scanning electron microscopy. This present study offers a “first-glimpse” of cell damage and death during the initial phases of bacterial adhesion to NF membranes and raises a key question about the role of this observed phenomena during early-stage biofilm formation under permeate flux and cross-flow conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9641-9650
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number16
Early online date6 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2014


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