NL: Controlling biofilm formation in pipes

The involved parties in the project ‘Managing biofilm formation in pipes’ met recently. This two-year study should in the coming years provide more insight into how biofilm formation in pipes can be prevented and how to keep microbial water in good condition in an emission-free cultivation.

Approach of the project
Within this project a standardized biofilm setup and protocol for obtaining reproducible biofilm formation is being developed so that biofilm formation can be measured, and the effect of treatment against biofilm formation can be determined (end of 2017 - the end of 2018). In addition, strategies are being developed (2018) and tested (end 2018-2019), in order to control biofilm formation in irrigation pipes during cultivation, and in order to remove biofilm on the pipes during crop rotation. The strategies are aimed at creating conditions that are unfavorable for biofilm formation and must fit into an emission-free cultivation system.

Biofilm monitor
It has been agreed to use as standard setup the biofilm monitor that was developed by KWR for research into the effect of disinfectant and biocidal agents on biofilm removal. For this the biofilm monitor will be filled with PE rings, which are normally used in the irrigation piping and will be connected to conventional piping. The system will be flowed through with a nutrient solution from the tomato cultivation, thereby simulating conditions as they occur in a cultivation situation. Among other things, flow rate, downtime and temperature will be taken into account. The setup will be placed at the WUR in Bleiswijk; during the WaterEvent on October 4, the project will be discussed during a research pitch.

In the first step of the research it will be examined whether the system mentioned above will lead to the development of reproducible biofilm and will be examined in what time frame a stable biofilm concentration will have been developed. In the second part of the research the effects of disinfectants, its methods and biocides on biofilm formation are investigated with this setup.

Choice of products for biofilm restriction
In the second phase, the effect from four products against biofilm formation will be tested. In any case, the following products are included:

• Aqua 4D electromagnetic treatment from Planet Horizons Technologies
• Ultrasonic water treatment from Advanced Waste Water Solutions BV
• Microbial preparations from MICROBAC B.V.
• Stabilized hydrogen peroxide from Cindro B.V.

Soon it will be discussed whether other resources need to be tested.

Execution and financing of project
This project is executed by KWR Water Cycle Research Institute and Wageningen University & Research, BU greenhouse horticulture and financed by Foundation Program Fund greenhouse horticulture, Top Sector Water, Top Sector Horticulture & Starting Material and participating suppliers. Also in the future funding will be needed in order to be able to continue such research. To this end ‘Knowledge in your Greenhouse’ (KijK) is important to get sector-wide research funding available to stay visibly ahead in the development of greenhouse horticulture. This research is one of the two work packages of ‘Microbial healthy water for greenhouse horticulture’.

Source: Glastuinbouw Waterproof

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