Minerals of biological origin have shown significant potential for the separation of contaminants from water worldwide. This study details the contribution of biologically derived minerals to water treatment operations, with a focus on filtration media from urban municipalities and remote cold regions. The results support biofilm-embedded iron and manganese to be the building blocks of biogenic mineral development on activated carbon and nutrient-amended zeolites. The presence of similar iron and manganese oxidising bacterial species across all filter media supports the analogous morphologies of biogenic minerals between sites and suggests that biological water treatment processes may be feasible across a range of climates. This is the first time the stages of biogenic mineral formation have been aligned with comprehensive imaging of the biofilm community and bacterial identification; especially with respect to cold regions. Where biogenic mineral formation occurs on filter media, the potential exists for enhanced adsorption for a range of organic and inorganic contaminants and improved longevity of filter media beyond the adsorption or exchange capacities of the raw material.
- water treatment
- First received 3 January 2016.
- Accepted in revised form 20 December 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2017