Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 16, pp 7183–7194 | Cite as

Chlorination caused a shift in marine biofilm niches on microfiltration/ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membranes and UV irradiation effectively inactivated a chlorine-resistant bacterium

  • Kyungjin Cho
  • Dawoon Jeong
  • Seockheon Lee
  • Hyokwan Bae
Environmental biotechnology


The effect of chlorine disinfection on marine biofilm populations and communities formed on membrane surfaces was investigated under two feedwater conditions: raw seawater and deep bed filtration-treated seawater. As a result of chlorination, the structure of the biofilm community on the microfiltration/ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membrane coupons shifted significantly at the genus level. However, the total bacterial population was not reduced under the two feedwater conditions. This failure to control the biofilm was attributed to the adaptation and survival of selected bacteria under chlorine stress. Phaeobacter caeruleus, isolated from the biofilm, was examined as a representative chlorine-resistant biofilm-forming bacterium. The number of viable P. caeruleus was significantly reduced (as much as 99.8%) after ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. The results indicated that additional disinfection by UV irradiation can inactivate chlorine-resistant bacteria. Therefore, tandem chlorination-UV disinfection may enhance the efficiency of biofouling control in seawater reverse osmosis processes. The synergistic effects of tandem chlorination-UV irradiation on the marine biofilm community should be investigated in future studies.


Seawater reverse osmosis Biofouling Chlorination UV disinfection Biofilm-forming bacteria Phaeobacter caeruleus 


Funding information

This research received financial support from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (2Z04140). This research was also supported by a grant (code 17IFIP-B065893-05) from Industrial Facilities & Infrastructure Research Program funded by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean government.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9111_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (852 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 852 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Water Resource Cycle ResearchKorea Institute of Science and TechnologySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringYonsei UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPusan National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea

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