- (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
- (2) Arla Foods Ingredients, Sønderupvej 26, DK-6920 Videbæk, Denmark
Reusing reverse osmosis (RO) membrane permeate instead of potable water in the dairy industry is a very appealing tactic. However, to ensure safe use, the quality of reclaimed water must be guaranteed. To do this, qualitative and quantitative information about which compounds permeate the membranes must be established. In the present study, we provide a detailed characterization of ultrafiltration, RO, and RO polisher (ROP) permeate with regard to organic and inorganic compounds. Results indicate that smaller molecules and elements (such as phosphate, but mainly urea and boron) pass the membrane, and a small set of larger molecules (long-chain fatty acids, glycerol-phosphate, and glutamic acid) are found as well, though in minute concentrations (<0.2 µM). Growth experiments with 2 urease-positive microorganisms, isolated from RO permeate, showed that the nutrient content in the ROP permeate supports limited growth of 1 of the 2 isolates, indicating that the ROP permeate may not be guaranteed to be stable during protracted storage.