Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 1795–1803 | Cite as

Biodegradation behavior of natural organic matter (NOM) in a biological aerated filter (BAF) as a pretreatment for ultrafiltration (UF) of river water

  • Guocheng Huang
  • Fangang Meng
  • Xing Zheng
  • Yuan Wang
  • Zhigang Wang
  • Huijun Liu
  • Martin Jekel
Environmental Biotechnology


In this study, biodegradation of natural organic matter (NOM) in a biological aerated filter (BAF) as pretreatment of UF treating river water was investigated. Photometric measurement, three-dimensional excitation–emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectroscopy and liquid chromatography with online organic carbon detector (LC-OCD) were used to investigate the fate of NOM fractions in the BAF + UF process. Results showed that the BAF process could effectively remove particles and parts of dissolved organic matter, which led to a lower NOM loading in the UF system, but different NOM fractions showed different biodegradation potentials. Further biodegradation batch experiments confirmed this observation and identified that polysaccharides and proteins (quantified using photometric methods) contained a large proportion of readily biodegradable matter while humic substances were mainly composed of inert organic substances. According to EEM measurements, it is evident that protein-like substances were more readily eliminated by microorganisms than humic-like substances. LC-OCD data also supported the phenomena that the polysaccharides and large-size proteins were more degradable than humic substances.


Drinking water treatment Membrane fouling Biological aerated filter Natural organic matter 



This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities. Litree Corporation was thanked for the supply of the PVDF membrane modules.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guocheng Huang
    • 1
  • Fangang Meng
    • 1
  • Xing Zheng
    • 2
  • Yuan Wang
    • 1
  • Zhigang Wang
    • 1
  • Huijun Liu
    • 3
  • Martin Jekel
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Water Desalination and Reuse Center, King Abdullah University of Science and TechnologyThuwalKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. 3.Yantai Research Institute, China Agricultural UniversityYantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Water Quality ControlTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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