Quorum sensing (QS) is a mechanism dependent on bacterial density. This coordinated process is mediated by the synthesis and the secretion of signal molecules, called autoinducers (AIs). N-acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) are the most common AIs that are used by Gram-negative bacteria and are involved in biofilm formation. Quorum Quenching (QQ) is the interference of QS by producing hydrolyzing enzymes, among other strategies. The main objective of the present study was to identify QS and QQ strains from MBR wastewater treatment plants. A total of 99 strains were isolated from two Spanish plants that were intended to treat leachate from municipal solid waste. Five AHL producers were detected using AHL biosensor strains (Chromobacterium violaceum CV026 and Agrobacterium tumefaciens NT1). Fifteen strains of seventy-one Gram-positive were capable of eliminating or reducing at least one AHL activity. The analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequence showed the importance of the Pseudomonas genus in the production of biofilms and the relevance of the genus Bacillus in the disruption of the QS mechanism, in which the potential activity of lactonase or acylase enzymes was investigated with the aim to contribute to solve biofouling problems and to increase the useful lifespan of membranes.
Keywords: AHL; MBR; biofouling; quorum quenching; quorum sensing; wastewater treatment.