Prof. Sunny Jiang on Membrane Biofouling Causes and Solutions, Rockingham, 28 August 2012

Posted on 17 August 2012

Newly appointed Murdoch University Adjunct Professor Sunny Jiang will give a special presentation at NCEDA this month on Southern Californian research to prevent and reduce membrane biofouling.

The Environmental Engineering Professor from the University of California in Irvine will reveal results of studies into indicators used to identify membrane biofouling propensity and ways to reduce biofilm in order to reduce desal plant energy consumption.

Prof. Jiang is in Perth to work with Professor Goen Ho’s Murdoch research team on NCEDA-funded projects.

All are welcome to attend this talk at 5:00 pm, Tuesday 28 August at the NCEDA Rockingham Desalination Research Facility, Murdoch University Rockingham Campus, Dixon Road, Rockingham. Please join us afterwards for networking and drinks.

RSVP by email to

Seminar details

US Research Findings on Seawater Desalination Membrane Biofouling: Causes and Solutions
Professor Sunny Jiang, new Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University, and Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of California.

5:00 pm, Tuesday 28 August 2012
Followed by networking and drinks

NCEDA Rockingham Desalination Research Facility
Murdoch University Rockingham Campus
Dixon Road, Rockingham

RSVP by email to


Seawater desalination provides a sustainable, drought-proof source of drinking water supply. However, membrane fouling remains a challenge for the desal industry. This presentation reveals US investigation of the causes of membrane fouling and indicators that can be used to identify membrane biofouling propensity. Analysis of environmental and water quality parameters in a Southern California desalination pilot plant have shown that urban runoff associated with rainfall and algal blooms are triggers for accelerated membrane fouling. Significant statistical correlations have been identified between membrane performance, chlorophyll concentration and organic carbon concentration in feed water. Balancing organic carbon and nitrogen ratio in feed water has been found to reduce membrane biofilm in a pilot scale study. Periodic hyperosmotic shocks also reduced membrane biofilm density and improved membrane permeability in a bench scale study. Microscopy investigation of membrane surfaces over the course of hyperosmotic shock experiments indicated shocks induced bacterial mortality and slowed biofilm maturation. The outcomes of this study suggest that monitoring and responding to the right environmental parameters can reduce the membrane fouling during desalination operation.

About Prof. Sunny Jiang

Sunny Jiang is the newly appointed Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor at School of Environmental Science atMurdoch University. She is Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. She investigates prevention of membrane biofouling to reduce desal plant energy consumption, and is working with Professor Goen Ho’s Murdoch research team on NCEDA-funded projects.  Prof. Jiang’s research group focuses on applied and environmental microbiology, water quality, microbial ecology and environmental impact to human health. She has served on review panels for the US National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency. Prof. Jiang was a member on the WHO Desalination Guideline Development Committee and recently served on the US National Academy of Sciences Water Reuse committee.

Download presentation

Prof. Jiang’s presentation slides are available for download (2 MB PDF).

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