The natural organic matter (NOM) components causing fouling of nanofiltration membranes used in drinking water applications consists in a complex mixture of humic and fulvic acids, proteins, and carbohydrates of various molecular size and functional groups. Understanding the characteristics of NOM fractions such as humic substances (HS) and biopolymers (proteins and polysaccharides) as foulants is of paramount importance to develop fouling control strategies. Fluorescence spectroscopy is becoming an increasingly popular method for characterizing NOM and shows good potential for online monitoring, as minimal sample pre-treatment and preparation is required, high instrumental sensitivity is available and the technique is non-destructive in nature. In this research an innovative approach involving both fluorescence and LC-OCD analyses is used to identify and to characterise organic membrane foulant.

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