School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006, PR China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation Technology, Guangzhou 510006, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
Soluble microbial products (SMPs) discharged into surface water may increase the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) in downstream drinking water treatment plants. In this study, ultrafiltration (UF) fractionation was used to separate SMPs into homogenous components. An aerobic microbial experiment was conducted to evaluate the bioavailability of individual molecular weight (MW) fractions of SMPs in surface water and the impact on their DBP formation, facilitating the interpretation of SMPs characterization and DBPs reactivity. For SMPs, organics with MW < 1 kDa were the primary fraction, containing the most abundant humic substances. The 30 kDa < MW < 100 kDa fraction was the lowest in SMPs but had the highest SUVA values. After biodegradation, the bioavailability of physical fractions increased with the increasing MW size. However, the SUVA value, except for MW < 1 kDa, increased in individual fraction after biodegradation. Low molecular weight SMPs fractions (MW<10 kDa) were major precursors for DBP in which trichloromethane (TCM) was the most abundant. The 10 kDa 100KDa had relative abundant dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN) formation. After biodegradation, TCM precursors with MW < 1 kDa were removed by approximately 20%, whereas the increase of TCM formation was observed in 1 kDa < MW < 100 kDa fraction. CH formation from 1 kDa < MW < 10 kDa increased considerably, but those from 10 kDa < MW < 30 kDa decreased after biodegradation, as a result of the biotransformation of large organic acids to small organic acids. In terms of DBP reactivity, the TCM yield for the MW < 1 kDa fraction had no significant change while the 30 kDa < MW < 100 kDa fraction exhibited the greatest increase (approximately 8 times) in TCM yield.