Abstract: Water contamination with harmful arsenic compounds represents one of the most serious calamities of the last two centuries. Natural occurrence of the toxic metal has been revealed recently for 21 countries worldwide; the risk of arsenic intoxication is particularly high in Bangladesh and India but recently also Europe is facing similar problem. Liquid membranes (LMs) look like a promising alternative to the existing removal processes, showing numerous advantages in terms of energy consumption, efficiency, selectivity, and operational costs. The development of different LM configurations has been a matter of investigation by several researching groups, especially for the removal of As(III) and As(V) from aqueous solutions. Most of these LM systems are based on the use of phosphine oxides as carriers, when the metal removal is from sulfuric acid media. Particularly promising for water treatment is the hollow fiber supported liquid membrane (HFSLM) configuration, which offers high selectivity, easy transport of the targeted metal ions, large surface area, and non-stop flow process. The choice of organic extractant(s) plays an essential role in the efficiency of the arsenic removal. Emulsion liquid membrane (ELM) systems have not been extensively investigated so far, although encouraging results have started to appear in the literature. For such LM configuration, the most relevant step toward efficiency is the choice of the surfactant type and its concentration.
Abstract: Internal concentration polarization (ICP) in forward osmosis (FO) process is a characteristic problem for asymmetric thin-film composite (TFC) FO membrane which leads to lower water flux. To mitigate the ICP effect, modification of the substrates’ properties has been one of the most effective methods. A new polyethersulfone-based ultrafiltration membrane with increased surface porosity and high water flux was recently produced by incorporating Zn2GeO4 nanowires. The composite membrane was used as a substrate for the fabrication of TFC FO membrane, by coating a thin layer of polyamide on top of the substrate. The substrate and the nanowires were characterized by a range of techniques such as SEM, XRD, and contact angle goniometry. The water permeability and molecular weight cut-offs (MWCO) of the substrate; and the FO performance of the TFC membrane were also determined. The Zn2GeO4-modified membrane showed ~45% increase in water permeability and NaCl salt rejection of 80% under RO mode. In FO mode, the ratio of water flux to reverse solute flux was also improved. However, lower FO flux was obtained which could be due to ICP. The result shows that Zn2GO4 nanowire may be used as a modifier to the substrate to improve the quality of the polyamide layer on the substrate to improve the flux and selectivity, but not as effective in reducing ICP. This work demonstrates that the incorporation of nanomaterials to the membrane substrate may be an alternative approach to improve the formation of polyamide skin layer to achieve better FO performance.
Abstract: In this study, the separation properties of Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) hollow fiber hemodialysis membranes were improved by optimizing membrane morphology and structure. The results showed that the PVDF membrane had better mechanical and separation properties than Fresenius Polysulfone High-Flux (F60S) membrane. The PVDF membrane tensile stress at break, tensile elongation and bursting pressure were 11.3 MPa, 395% and 0.625 MPa, respectively. Ultrafiltration (UF) flux of pure water reached 108.2 L∙h−1∙m−2 and rejection of Albumin from bovine serum was 82.3%. The PVDF dialyzers were prepared by centrifugal casting. The influences of membrane area and simulate fluid flow rate on dialysis performance were investigated. The results showed that the clearance rate of urea and Lysozyme (LZM) were improved with increasing membrane area and fluid flow rate while the rejection of albumin from bovine serum (BSA) had little influence. The high-flux PVDF dialyzer UF coefficient reached 62.6 mL/h/mmHg. The PVDF dialyzer with membrane area 0.69 m2 has the highest clearance rate to LZM and urea. The clearance rate of LZM was 66.8% and urea was 87.7%.
Abstract: We study the permeation dynamics of helium and carbon dioxide through an atomistically detailed model of a polymer of intrinsic microporosity, PIM-1, via non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) simulations. This work presents the first explicit molecular modeling of gas permeation through a high free-volume polymer sample, and it demonstrates how permeability and solubility can be obtained coherently from a single simulation. Solubilities in particular can be obtained to a very high degree of confidence and within experimental inaccuracies. Furthermore, the simulations make it possible to obtain very specific information on the diffusion dynamics of penetrant molecules and yield detailed maps of gas occupancy, which are akin to a digital tomographic scan of the polymer network. In addition to determining permeability and solubility directly from NEMD simulations, the results shed light on the permeation mechanism of the penetrant gases, suggesting that the relative openness of the microporous topology promotes the anomalous diffusion of penetrant gases, which entails a deviation from the pore hopping mechanism usually observed in gas diffusion in polymers.
Abstract: The trans-Golgi network functions in the distribution of cargo into different transport vesicles that are destined to endosomes, lysosomes and the plasma membrane. Over the years, it has become clear that more than one transport pathway promotes plasma membrane localization of proteins. In spite of the importance of temporal and spatial control of protein localization at the plasma membrane, the regulation of sorting into and the formation of different transport containers are still poorly understood. In this review different transport pathways, with a special emphasis on exomer-dependent transport, and concepts of regulation and sorting at the TGN are discussed.
Abstract: Synergistic interactions among peptides and receptors of the insulin family are required for glucose homeostasis, normal cellular growth and development, proliferation, differentiation and other metabolic processes. The peptides of the insulin family are disulfide-linked single or dual-chain proteins, while receptors are ligand-activated transmembrane glycoproteins of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) superfamily. Binding of ligands to the extracellular domains of receptors is known to initiate signaling via activation of intracellular kinase domains. While the structure of insulin has been known since 1969, recent decades have seen remarkable progress on the structural biology of apo and liganded receptor fragments. Here, we review how this useful structural information (on ligands and receptors) has enabled large-scale atomically-resolved simulations to elucidate the conformational dynamics of these biomolecules. Particularly, applications of molecular dynamics (MD) and Monte Carlo (MC) simulation methods are discussed in various contexts, including studies of isolated ligands, apo-receptors, ligand/receptor complexes and intracellular kinase domains. The review concludes with a brief overview and future outlook for modeling and computational studies in this family of proteins.