4-Aminobenzenesulfonate (4-ABS), an aromatic amine and recalcitrant toxic pollutant, is widely used in the dye and pharmaceutical industry. Pannonibacter sp. W1 is a specialized microbial strain which can efficiently degrade 4-ABS. This study shows the feasibility of using the specialized strain in an MBR system to treat synthetic wastewater containing large amount of 4-ABS. Due to membrane retention, the biomass concentration is able to reach 5 g/L within two months of continuous operation. Pannonibacter sp. W1 is able to adapt to the high loading rate of 1000 mg 4-ABS/L and achieve a remarkable 4-ABS removal efficiency of 99% within 6 h. Strain W1 grows well under the MBR continuous operation and remains as the dominant bacterium at the end of 60 days continuous operation. Minor membrane fouling has been detected within 40 days of operating at 15 LMH. At a flux of 25 LMH, the system experiences the ‘TMP jump’. The high organic removal rate and low membrane fouling results illustrate the excellent performance of the bioaugmented MBR system in 4-ABS wastewater treatment.

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