Real-time Raman based approach for identification of biofouling

Martin Kögler*, Bifeng Zhang, Li Cui, Yunjie Shi, Marjo Yliperttula, Timo Laaksonen, Tapani Viitala, Kaisong Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes a proof-of-concept for a compact real-time surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-online sensing approach for detection of biofouling in drinking water membrane filtration. In this study we created a custom-designed flow-cell that mimics a cross-flow membrane filtration system. This enables one to measure changes in surface-foulants, such as Brevundimonas dimiuta (BD) bacteria and adenine, under conditions that are similar to conventional membrane filtration systems. For measurements we used a common portable Raman-spectrometer with a laboratory Raman-probe in combination with a specially developed gold nanoparticle (Au NP) SERS-sensing area on filter-membranes. This allowed real-time detection of low concentrations of surface-foulants immediately after inoculation into an ultra-pure water reservoir under pressure-driven filtration conditions. We compared these online results with static measurements from an offline, sample-taking approach, using a confocal Raman-laboratory-microscope. The developed Au NP SERS-sensing-area on the membranes proved to be stable over a long period of surface fouling investigations and to suppress the strong interfering Raman-signal originating from the composition layer of most filtration membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biofilm
  • Biofouling
  • Online process monitoring
  • Real-time detection
  • Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy


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