Effect of biological activated carbon filter depth and backwashing process on transformation of biofilm community

  • Wanqi Qi
  • Weiying LiEmail author
  • Junpeng Zhang
  • Xuan Wu
  • Jie Zhang
  • Wei Zhang
Research Article


The biological activated carbon (BAC) is a popular advanced water treatment to the provision of safe water supply. A bench–scale device was designed to gain a better insight into microbial diversity and community structure of BAC biofilm by using high–throughput sequencing method. Both samples of BAC biofilm (the first, third and fifth month) and water (inlet water and outlet water of carbon filter, outlet water of backwashing) were analyzed to evaluate the impact of carbon filter depth, running time and backwash process. The results showed that the microbial diversity of biofilm decreased generally with the increase of carbon filter depth and biofilm reached a steady–state at the top layer of BAC after three months’ running. Proteobacteria (71.02%–95.61%) was found to be dominant bacteria both in biofilms and water samples. As one of opportunistic pathogen, the Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the outlet water of device (1.20%) was about eight times higher than that in the inlet water of device (0.16%) at the genus level after five–month operation. To maintain the safety of drinking water, the backwash used in this test could significantly remove Sphingobacteria (from 8.69% to 5.09%, p<0.05) of carbon biofilm. After backwashing, the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) number and the Shannon index decreased significantly (p<0.05) at the bottom of carbon column and we found the Proteobacteria increased by about 10% in all biofilm samples from different filter depth. This study reveals the transformation of BAC biofilm with the impact of running time and backwashing.


Biological activated carbon Biofilm Community structure Carbon filter depth High–throughput sequencing 



We are grateful for the cooperation and participation of the utilities that were involved in this project, which is supported by National Key Technology Research and Development Program of Research on urban water system construction and safety assurance technology in Xiong’an New Area of China (No. 2018ZX07110–0082).


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wanqi Qi
    • 1
  • Weiying Li
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Junpeng Zhang
    • 1
  • Xuan Wu
    • 1
  • Jie Zhang
    • 1
  • Wei Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource ReuseTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Chengdu Chuanli Intelligence Fluid Equipment Co., Ltd.ChengduChina

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