Historically, biofouling research on spiral wound membrane systems is typically problem solving oriented. Membrane modules are studied as black box systems, investigated by autopsies. Biofouling is not a simple process. Many factors influence each other in a non-linear fashion. These features make biofouling a subject which is not easy to study using a fundamental scientific approach. Nevertheless to solve or minimize the negative impacts of biofouling, a clear understanding of the interacting basic principles is needed. Recent research into microbiological characterizing of biofouling, small scale test units, application of in situ visualization methods, and model approaches allow such an integrated study of biofouling.

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