Disinfection byproduct formation in reverse-osmosis concentrated and lyophilized natural organic matter from a drinking water source

Jonathan G. Pressman, Daniel L. McCurry, Shahid Parvez, Glenn E. Rice, Linda K. Teuschler, Richard J. Miltner, Thomas F. Speth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Drinking water treatment and disinfection byproduct (DBP) research can be complicated by natural organic matter (NOM) temporal variability. NOM preservation by lyophilization (freeze-drying) has been long practiced to address this issue; however, its applicability for drinking water research has been limited because the selected NOM sources are atypical of most drinking water sources. The purpose of this research was to demonstrate that reconstituted NOM from a lyophilized reverse-osmosis (RO) concentrate of a typical drinking water source closely represents DBP formation in the original NOM. A preliminary experiment assessed DBP formation kinetics and yields in concentrated NOM, which demonstrated that chlorine decays faster in concentrate, in some cases leading to altered DBP speciation. Potential changes in NOM reactivity caused by lyophilization were evaluated by chlorination of lyophilized and reconstituted NOM, its parent RO concentrate, and the source water. Bromide lost during RO concentration was replaced by adding potassium bromide prior to chlorination. Although total measured DBP formation tended to decrease slightly and unidentified halogenated organic formation tended to increase slightly as a result of RO concentration, the changes associated with lyophilization were minor. In lyophilized NOM reconstituted back to source water TOC levels and then chlorinated, the concentrations of 19 of 21 measured DBPs, constituting 96% of the total identified DBP mass, were statistically indistinguishable from those in the chlorinated source water. Furthermore, the concentrations of 16 of 21 DBPs in lyophilized NOM reconstituted back to the RO concentrate TOC levels, constituting 86% DBP mass, were statistically indistinguishable from those in the RO concentrate. This study suggests that lyophilization can be used to preserve concentrated NOM without substantially altering the precursors to DBP formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5343-5354
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012



  • Chlorination
  • DBP
  • DOM
  • Kinetics
  • Lyophilization
  • NOM
  • Reverse-osmosis
  • TOC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this