first benchmarking study of the bacterial build up on the filtration membranes of a full-scale desalination plant.
This problem, known as biofouling, is estimated to cost the worldwide industry US$15 billion each year.
Ms Veena examined the bacteria living on the membranes on 14 reverse osmosis units in the Perth seawater Desalination Plant in Rockingham after seven years of operation and compared them to the unused units waiting in the plant for installation.
This was the first ever study to examine the bacterial communities present on the unused membranes. The study has been published in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes.
Ms Veena said that there was a marked difference between the bacterial communities of the biofouled and the unused.