Membranes2016, 6(3), 36; doi:10.3390/membranes6030036 (registering DOI) - published 24 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tethered lipid bilayer membranes (tBLMs) have been used in many applications, including biosensing and membrane protein structure studies. This report describes a biosensor for anthrax toxins that was fabricated through the self-assembly of a tBLM with B. anthracis protective antigen ion channels that are both the recognition element and electrochemical transducer. We characterize the sensor and its properties with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. The sensor shows a sensitivity similar to ELISA and can also be used to rapidly screen for molecules that bind to the toxins and potentially inhibit their lethal effects.
Abstract: In this study, flat sheet asymmetric polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) ultrafiltration membranes with enhanced antifouling properties were prepared with a non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) method through compound additives containing a polymeric pore-forming agent, a small molecular non-solvent and a surfactant. The formation processes of the porous asymmetric membranes with different kinds of additives were studied in detail, and the microstructure controllable preparation of membrane was achieved by establishing a bridge between the membrane preparation parameters and separation performances. All prepared membranes were characterized by using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), contact angle analysis, porosity, maximum pore size, water and BSA solution permeability studies. The performance efficiency of the membrane was evaluated by using BSA as a model foulant in terms of permeability, solute rejection (R), Rm (membrane inherent resistance), Rc (cake layer resistance), and Rp (pore plugging resistance). The results showed that when the compound additives were used, the inter-connected pores were observed, maximum pore size, contact angle and membrane filtration resistance decreased, while the porosity increased. When PVP compound additives were added, the water flux increased from 80.4 to 148.1 L/(m2·h), the BSA rejection increased from 53.2% to 81.5%. A similar trend was observed for membranes with added PEG compound additives; the water flux and BSA rejection simultaneously increased. The filtration resistance decreased as a result of compound additives. The uniformity of membrane and the number of effective pores could be enhanced by adding compound additives through the cooperation of different additives.
Abstract: An oscillatory emulsification system for the production of oil in water emulsions using a commercially available low-cost woven metal microscreen (WMMS) is investigated. The system allows for independent control of both the oscillation frequencies and amplitudes such that it provides two degrees of freedom for controlling the emulsion properties. The investigations included the production of both surfactant and particle-stabilized emulsions. The average droplet size was found to decrease when both the oscillation frequency and amplitude was increased. For surfactant-stabilized emulsions, using bi-surfactants in both the continuous and dispersed phases resulted in a smaller droplet size due to lower interfacial tension. For particle-stabilized emulsions, both the hydrodynamics of the system and the hydrophobic and hydrophilic nature of the stabilizing particles influenced the interfacial properties at the oil–water interface, which in turn affected the final droplet size and distribution with potential droplet breakage. In absence of the latter, a simple torque balance model can be used to reasonably predict the average emulsion droplet size.
Abstract: The membrane bioreactor (MBR) has emerged as an efficient compact technology for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. The major drawback impeding wider application of MBRs is membrane fouling, which significantly reduces membrane performance and lifespan, resulting in a significant increase in maintenance and operating costs. Finding sustainable membrane fouling mitigation strategies in MBRs has been one of the main concerns over the last two decades. This paper provides an overview of membrane fouling and studies conducted to identify mitigating strategies for fouling in MBRs. Classes of foulants, including biofoulants, organic foulants and inorganic foulants, as well as factors influencing membrane fouling are outlined. Recent research attempts on fouling control, including addition of coagulants and adsorbents, combination of aerobic granulation with MBRs, introduction of granular materials with air scouring in the MBR tank, and quorum quenching are presented. The addition of coagulants and adsorbents shows a significant membrane fouling reduction, but further research is needed to establish optimum dosages of the various coagulants/adsorbents. Similarly, the integration of aerobic granulation with MBRs, which targets biofoulants and organic foulants, shows outstanding filtration performance and a significant reduction in fouling rate, as well as excellent nutrients removal. However, further research is needed on the enhancement of long-term granule integrity. Quorum quenching also offers a strong potential for fouling control, but pilot-scale testing is required to explore the feasibility of full-scale application.
Abstract: CO2 separation was found to be facilitated by transport membranes based on novel chitosan (CS)–poly(styrene) (PS) and chitosan (CS)–poly(acrylonitrile) (PAN) copolymer matrices doped with methylimidazolium based ionic liquids: [bmim][BF4], [bmim][PF6], and [bmim][Tf2N] (IL). CS plays the role of biodegradable film former and selectivity promoter. Copolymers were prepared implementing the latest achievements in radical copolymerization with chosen monomers, which enabled the achievement of outstanding mechanical strength values for the CS-based membranes (75–104 MPa for CS-PAN and 69–75 MPa for CS-PS). Ionic liquid (IL) doping affected the surface and mechanical properties of the membranes as well as the gas separation properties. The highest CO2 permeability 400 Barrers belongs to CS-b-PS/[bmim][BF4]. The highest selectivity α (CO2/N2) = 15.5 was achieved for CS-b-PAN/[bmim][BF4]. The operational temperature of the membranes is under 220 °C.