Effects of polarization in the presence and absence of biocides on biofilms in a simulated paper machine water
The antifouling potential of electric polarization combined and not combined with biocides was studied in nonsaline warm water with high organic content. Deinococcus geothermalis is a bacterium known for forming colored biofilms in paper machines and for its persistence against cleaning and chemical treatments. When D. geothermalis biofilms grown for 24 h in simulated paper machine water were exposed to cathodic or cathodically weighted pulsed polarization at least 60% ( P < 0.05) of the biofilms were removed from stainless steel (AISI 316L). Biofilm removal by 25 ppm (effective substances 5–25 ppm) of oxidizing biocides (bromochloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin, 2,2-dibromo-2-cyanoacetamide, peracetic acid) increased to 70% when combined with cathodically weighted pulsed polarization. Using a novel instrument that allows real-time detection of reactive oxygen species (ROS) we showed that the polarization program effective in antifouling generated ROS in a pulsed manner on the steel surface. We thus suggest that the observed added value of oxidative biocides combined with polarization depended on ROS. This suggestion was supported by the finding that a reductive biocide, methylene bisthiocyanate, counteracted the antifouling effect of polarization.