Open AccessArticle
Investigating Sterol and Redox Regulation of the Ion Channel Activity of CLIC1 Using Tethered Bilayer Membranes
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 51; doi:10.3390/membranes6040051 -
Abstract
The Chloride Intracellular Ion Channel (CLIC) family consists of six conserved proteins in humans. These are a group of enigmatic proteins, which adopt both a soluble and membrane bound form. CLIC1 was found to be a metamorphic protein, where under specific environmental triggers
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The Chloride Intracellular Ion Channel (CLIC) family consists of six conserved proteins in humans. These are a group of enigmatic proteins, which adopt both a soluble and membrane bound form. CLIC1 was found to be a metamorphic protein, where under specific environmental triggers it adopts more than one stable reversible soluble structural conformation. CLIC1 was found to spontaneously insert into cell membranes and form chloride ion channels. However, factors that control the structural transition of CLIC1 from being an aqueous soluble protein into a membrane bound protein have yet to be adequately described. Using tethered bilayer lipid membranes and electrical impedance spectroscopy system, herein we demonstrate that CLIC1 ion channel activity is dependent on the type and concentration of sterols in bilayer membranes. These findings suggest that membrane sterols play an essential role in CLIC1’s acrobatic switching from a globular soluble form to an integral membrane form, promoting greater ion channel conductance in membranes. What remains unclear is the precise nature of this regulation involving membrane sterols and ultimately determining CLIC1’s membrane structure and function as an ion channel. Furthermore, our impedance spectroscopy results obtained using CLIC1 mutants, suggest that the residue Cys24 is not essential for CLIC1’s ion channel function. However Cys24 does appear important for optimal ion channel activity. We also observe differences in conductance between CLIC1 reduced and oxidized forms when added to our tethered membranes. Therefore, we conclude that both membrane sterols and redox play a role in the ion channel activity of CLIC1. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Thin Film Nanocomposite Membrane with MCM-41 Silica Nanoparticles for Brackish Water Purification
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 50; doi:10.3390/membranes6040050 -
Abstract
Thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes containing MCM-41 silica nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) process. An m-phenylenediamine (MPD) aqueous solution and an organic phase with trimesoyl chloride (TMC) dissolved in isooctane were used in the IP reaction, occurring on
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Thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes containing MCM-41 silica nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) process. An m-phenylenediamine (MPD) aqueous solution and an organic phase with trimesoyl chloride (TMC) dissolved in isooctane were used in the IP reaction, occurring on a nanoporous polysulfone (PSU) support layer. Isooctane was introduced as the organic solvent for TMC in this work due to its intermediate boiling point. MCM-41 silica NPs were loaded in MPD and TMC solutions in separate experiments, in a concentration range from 0 to 0.04 wt %, and the membrane performance was assessed and compared based on salt rejection and water flux. The prepared membranes were characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), contact angle measurement, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) analysis. The results show that adding MCM-41 silica NPs into an MPD solution yields slightly improved and more stable results than adding them to a TMC solution. With 0.02% MCM-41 silica NPs in the MPD solution, the water flux was increased from 44.0 to 64.1 L/m2·h, while the rejection virtually remained the same at 95% (2000 ppm NaCl saline solution, 25 °C, 2068 kPa (300 psi)). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mass Transport through Nanostructured Membranes: Towards a Predictive Tool
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 49; doi:10.3390/membranes6040049 -
Abstract
This study proposes a new mechanism to understand the transport of solvents through nanostructured membranes from a fundamental point of view. The findings are used to develop readily applicable mathematical models to predict solvent fluxes and solute rejections through solvent resistant membranes used
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This study proposes a new mechanism to understand the transport of solvents through nanostructured membranes from a fundamental point of view. The findings are used to develop readily applicable mathematical models to predict solvent fluxes and solute rejections through solvent resistant membranes used for nanofiltration. The new model was developed based on a pore-flow type of transport. New parameters found to be of fundamental importance were introduced to the equation, i.e., the affinity of the solute and the solvent for the membrane expressed as the hydrogen-bonding contribution of the solubility parameter for the solute, solvent and membrane. A graphical map was constructed to predict the solute rejection based on the hydrogen-bonding contribution of the solubility parameter. The model was evaluated with performance data from the literature. Both the solvent flux and the solute rejection calculated with the new approach were similar to values reported in the literature. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Hydrogen Induced Abrupt Structural Expansion at High Temperatures of a Ni32Nb28Zr30Cu10 Membrane for H2 Purification
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 48; doi:10.3390/membranes6040048 -
Abstract
Ni-Nb-Zr amorphous membranes, prepared by melt-spinning, show great potential for replacing crystalline Pd-based materials in the field of hydrogen purification to an ultrapure grade (>99.999%). In this study, we investigate the temperature evolution of the structure of an amorphous ribbon with the composition
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Ni-Nb-Zr amorphous membranes, prepared by melt-spinning, show great potential for replacing crystalline Pd-based materials in the field of hydrogen purification to an ultrapure grade (>99.999%). In this study, we investigate the temperature evolution of the structure of an amorphous ribbon with the composition Ni32Nb28Zr30Cu10 (expressed in atom %) by means of XRD and DTA measurements. An abrupt structural expansion is induced between 240 and 300 °C by hydrogenation. This structural modification deeply modifies the hydrogen sorption properties of the membrane, which indeed shows a strong reduction of the hydrogen capacity above 270 °C. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Characterization of Hydrophilically Modified PVDF Membranes by a Novel Nonsolvent Thermally Induced Phase Separation Method
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 47; doi:10.3390/membranes6040047 -
Abstract
In this study, a nonsolvent thermally-induced phase separation (NTIPS) method was first proposed to fabricate hydrophilically-modified poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) membranes to overcome the drawbacks of conventional thermally-induced phase separation (TIPS) and nonsolvent-induced phase separation (NIPS) methods. Hydrophilically-modified PVDF membranes were successfully prepared by
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In this study, a nonsolvent thermally-induced phase separation (NTIPS) method was first proposed to fabricate hydrophilically-modified poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) membranes to overcome the drawbacks of conventional thermally-induced phase separation (TIPS) and nonsolvent-induced phase separation (NIPS) methods. Hydrophilically-modified PVDF membranes were successfully prepared by blending in hydrophilic polymer polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) at 140 °C. A series of PVDF/PVA blend membranes was prepared at different total polymer concentrations and blend ratios. The morphological analysis via SEM indicated that the formation mechanism of these hydrophilically-modified membranes was a combined NIPS and TIPS process. As the total polymer concentration increased, the tensile strength of the membranes increased; meanwhile, the membrane pore size, porosity and water flux decreased. With the PVDF/PVA blend ratio increased from 10:0 to 8:2, the membrane pore size and water flux increased. The dynamic water contact angle of these membranes showed that the hydrophilic properties of PVDF/PVA blend membranes were prominently improved. The higher hydrophilicity of the membranes resulted in reduced membrane resistance and, hence, higher permeability. The total resistance Rt of the modified PVDF membranes decreased significantly as the hydrophilicity increased. The irreversible fouling related to pore blocking and adsorption fouling onto the membrane surface was minimal, indicating good antifouling properties. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Separation of Peptides with Forward Osmosis Biomimetic Membranes
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 46; doi:10.3390/membranes6040046 -
Abstract
Forward osmosis (FO) membranes have gained interest in several disciplines for the rejection and concentration of various molecules. One application area for FO membranes that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of the membranes to concentrate or dilute high value compound solutions
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Forward osmosis (FO) membranes have gained interest in several disciplines for the rejection and concentration of various molecules. One application area for FO membranes that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of the membranes to concentrate or dilute high value compound solutions such as pharmaceuticals. It is crucial in such settings to control the transport over the membrane to avoid losses of valuable compounds, but little is known about the rejection and transport mechanisms of larger biomolecules with often flexible conformations. In this study, transport of two chemically similar peptides with molecular weight (Mw) of 375 and 692 Da across a thin film composite Aquaporin Inside™ Membrane (AIM) FO membrane was investigated. Despite the relative large size, both peptides were able to permeate the dense active layer of the AIM membrane and the transport mechanism was determined to be diffusion-based. Interestingly, the membrane permeability increased 3.65 times for the 692 Da peptide (1.39 × 10−12 m2·s−1) compared to the 375 Da peptide (0.38 × 10−12 m2·s−1). This increase thus occurs for an 85% increase in Mw but only for a 34% increase in peptide radius of gyration (Rg) as determined from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. This suggests that Rg is a strong influencing factor for membrane permeability. Thus, an increased Rg reflects the larger peptide chains ability to sample a larger conformational space when interacting with the nanostructured active layer increasing the likelihood for permeation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flux and Passage Enhancement in Hemodialysis by Incorporating Compound Additive into PVDF Polymer Matrix
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 45; doi:10.3390/membranes6040045 -
Abstract
In this study, Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) hollow fiber hemodialysis membranes were prepared by non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) with compound addtive. The compound additive was made with polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) and Poly ethylene glycol (PEG). The results showed that the modified PVDF membrane
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In this study, Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) hollow fiber hemodialysis membranes were prepared by non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) with compound addtive. The compound additive was made with polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) and Poly ethylene glycol (PEG). The results showed that the modified PVDF membrane had better separation performance than virgin PVDF membrane. The UF flux of modified PVDF membrane can reach 684 L·h−1·m−2 and lysozyme (LZM) passage is 72.6% while virgin PVDF membrane is 313 L·h−1·m−2 and 53.2%. At the same time, the biocompatibility of PVDF membranes was also improved. Compared with commercial polysulfone hemodialysis membrane (Fresenius F60S membrane), the modified PVDF membrane had better mechanical and separation performance. The stress and tensile elongation of modified PVDF membrane was 0.94 MPa and 352% while Fresenius F60S membrane was 0.79 MPa and 59%. The LZM passage reached 72.6% while Fresenius F60S membrane was 54.4%. It was proven that the modified PVDF membrane showed better hydrophilicity, antithrombogenicity, less BSA adsorption, and lower hemolytic ratio and adhesion of platelets. Water contact angle and BSA adsorption of the modified PVDF membrane are 38° and 45 mg/m2 while Fresenius F60S membrane are 64° and 235 mg/m2. Prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) of the modified PVDF membrane are 56.5 s and 25.8 s while Fresenius F60S membrane is 35.7 s and 16.6 s. However, further biocompatibility evaluation is needed to obtain a more comprehensive conclusion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integration of Methane Steam Reforming and Water Gas Shift Reaction in a Pd/Au/Pd-Based Catalytic Membrane Reactor for Process Intensification
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 44; doi:10.3390/membranes6030044 -
Abstract
Palladium-based catalytic membrane reactors (CMRs) effectively remove H2 to induce higher conversions in methane steam reforming (MSR) and water-gas-shift reactions (WGS). Within such a context, this work evaluates the technical performance of a novel CMR, which utilizes two catalysts in series, rather
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Palladium-based catalytic membrane reactors (CMRs) effectively remove H2 to induce higher conversions in methane steam reforming (MSR) and water-gas-shift reactions (WGS). Within such a context, this work evaluates the technical performance of a novel CMR, which utilizes two catalysts in series, rather than one. In the process system under consideration, the first catalyst, confined within the shell side of the reactor, reforms methane with water yielding H2, CO and CO2. After reforming is completed, a second catalyst, positioned in series, reacts with CO and water through the WGS reaction yielding pure H2O, CO2 and H2. A tubular composite asymmetric Pd/Au/Pd membrane is situated throughout the reactor to continuously remove the produced H2 and induce higher methane and CO conversions while yielding ultrapure H2 and compressed CO2 ready for dehydration. Experimental results involving (i) a conventional packed bed reactor packed (PBR) for MSR, (ii) a PBR with five layers of two catalysts in series and (iii) a CMR with two layers of two catalysts in series are comparatively assessed and thoroughly characterized. Furthermore, a comprehensive 2D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed to explore further the features of the proposed configuration. The reaction was studied at different process intensification-relevant conditions, such as space velocities, temperatures, pressures and initial feed gas composition. Finally, it is demonstrated that the above CMR module, which was operated for 600 h, displays quite high H2 permeance and purity, high CH4 conversion levels and reduced CO yields. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Protein-Based Graphene Biosensors: Optimizing Artificial Chemoreception in Bilayer Lipid Membranes
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 43; doi:10.3390/membranes6030043 -
Abstract
Proteinaceous moieties are critical elements in most detection systems, including biosensing platforms. Their potential is undoubtedly vast, yet many issues regarding their full exploitation remain unsolved. On the other hand, the biosensor formats with the higher marketability probabilities are enzyme in nature and
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Proteinaceous moieties are critical elements in most detection systems, including biosensing platforms. Their potential is undoubtedly vast, yet many issues regarding their full exploitation remain unsolved. On the other hand, the biosensor formats with the higher marketability probabilities are enzyme in nature and electrochemical in concept. To no surprise, alternative materials for hosting catalysis within an electrode casing have received much attention lately to demonstrate a catalysis-coated device. Graphene and ZnO are presented as ideal materials to modify electrodes and biosensor platforms, especially in protein-based detection. Our group developed electrochemical sensors based on these nanomaterials for the sensitive detection of cholesterol using cholesterol oxidase incorporated in stabilized lipid films. A comparison between the two platforms is provided and discussed. In a broader sense, the not-so-remote prospect of quickly assembling a protein-based flexible biosensing detector to fulfill site-specific requirements is appealing to both university researchers and industry developers. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Membrane Technology for the Recovery of Lignin: A Review
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 42; doi:10.3390/membranes6030042 -
Abstract
Utilization of renewable resources is becoming increasingly important, and only sustainable processes that convert such resources into useful products can achieve environmentally beneficial economic growth. Wastewater from the pulp and paper industry is an unutilized resource offering the potential to recover valuable products
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Utilization of renewable resources is becoming increasingly important, and only sustainable processes that convert such resources into useful products can achieve environmentally beneficial economic growth. Wastewater from the pulp and paper industry is an unutilized resource offering the potential to recover valuable products such as lignin, pigments, and water [1]. The recovery of lignin is particularly important because it has many applications, and membrane technology has been investigated as the basis of innovative recovery solutions. The concentration of lignin can be increased from 62 to 285 g∙L−1 using membranes and the recovered lignin is extremely pure. Membrane technology is also scalable and adaptable to different waste liquors from the pulp and paper industry. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Insights into Surface Interactions between Metal Organic Frameworks and Gases during Transient Adsorption and Diffusion by In-Situ Small Angle X-ray Scattering
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 41; doi:10.3390/membranes6030041 -
Abstract
The fabrication of molecular gas sieving materials with specific affinities for a single gas species and able to store large quantities of materials at a low or atmospheric pressure is desperately required to reduce the adverse effects of coal and oil usage in
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The fabrication of molecular gas sieving materials with specific affinities for a single gas species and able to store large quantities of materials at a low or atmospheric pressure is desperately required to reduce the adverse effects of coal and oil usage in carbon capture. Fundamental understanding of the dynamic adsorption of gas, the diffusion mechanisms across thin film membranes, and the impact of interfaces play a vital role in developing these materials. In this work, single gas permeation tests across micro-porous membrane materials, based on metal organic framework crystals grown on the surface of carbon nanotubes (ZiF-8@CNT), were performed for the first time in-situ at the Australian Synchrotron on the small angle X-ray scattering beamline in order to reveal molecular sieving mechanisms and gas adsorption within the material. The results show that specific chemi-sorption of CO2 across the ZiF-8 crystal lattices affected the morphology and unit cell parameters, while the sieving of other noble or noble like gases across the ZiF-8@CNT membranes was found to largely follow Knudsen diffusion. This work demonstrates for the first time a novel and effective technique to assess molecular diffusion at the nano-scale across sub-nano-porous materials by probing molecular flexibility across crystal lattice and single cell units. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Permeability-Selectivity Analysis of Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration Membranes: Effect of Pore Size and Shape Distribution and Membrane Stretching
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 40; doi:10.3390/membranes6030040 -
Abstract
We present a modeling approach to determine the permeability-selectivity tradeoff for microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes with a distribution of pore sizes and pore shapes. Using the formulated permeability-selectivity model, the effect of pore aspect ratio and pore size distribution on the permeability-selectivity tradeoff
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We present a modeling approach to determine the permeability-selectivity tradeoff for microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes with a distribution of pore sizes and pore shapes. Using the formulated permeability-selectivity model, the effect of pore aspect ratio and pore size distribution on the permeability-selectivity tradeoff of the membrane is analyzed. A finite element model is developed to study the effect of membrane stretching on the distribution of pore sizes and shapes in the stretched membrane. The effect of membrane stretching on the permeability-selectivity tradeoff of membranes is also analyzed. The results show that increasing pore aspect ratio improves membrane performance while increasing the width of pore size distribution deteriorates the performance. It was also found that the effect of membrane stretching on the permeability-selectivity tradeoff is greatly affected by the uniformity of pore distribution in the membrane. Stretching showed a positive shift in the permeability-selectivity tradeoff curve of membranes with well-dispersed pores while in the case of pore clustering, a negative shift in the permeability-selectivity tradeoff curve was observed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Combining Coagulation/MIEX with Biological Activated Carbon Treatment to Control Organic Fouling in the Microfiltration of Secondary Effluent
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 39; doi:10.3390/membranes6030039 -
Abstract
Coagulation, magnetic ion exchange resin (MIEX) and biological activated carbon (BAC) were examined at lab scale as standalone, and sequential pre-treatments for controlling the organic fouling of a microfiltration membrane by biologically treated secondary effluent (BTSE) using a multi-cycle approach. MIEX gave slightly
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Coagulation, magnetic ion exchange resin (MIEX) and biological activated carbon (BAC) were examined at lab scale as standalone, and sequential pre-treatments for controlling the organic fouling of a microfiltration membrane by biologically treated secondary effluent (BTSE) using a multi-cycle approach. MIEX gave slightly greater enhancement in flux than coagulation due to greater removal of high molecular weight (MW) humic substances, although it was unable to remove high MW biopolymers. BAC treatment was considerably more effective for improving the flux than coagulation or MIEX. This was due to the biodegradation of biopolymers and/or their adsorption by the biofilm, and adsorption of humic substances by the activated carbon, as indicated by size exclusion chromatography. Coagulation or MIEX followed by BAC treatment further reduced the problematic foulants and significantly improved the flux performance. The unified membrane fouling index showed that the reduction of membrane fouling by standalone BAC treatment was 42%. This improved to 65%, 70%, and 93% for alum, ferric chloride and MIEX pre-treatment, respectively, when followed by BAC treatment. This study showed the potential of sequential MIEX and BAC pre-treatment for controlling organic fouling and thus enhancing the performance of microfiltration in the reclamation of BTSE. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of PAC Fines in Fouling of Polymeric and Ceramic Low-Pressure Membranes for Drinking Water Treatment
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 38; doi:10.3390/membranes6030038 -
Abstract
This study assessed the issue of membrane fouling in a Hybrid Membrane Process (HMP) due to the export of powdered activated carbon (PAC) fines from a pretreatment contactor. Two parallel pilot-scale ceramic and polymeric membranes were studied. Reversible and irreversible foulings were measured
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This study assessed the issue of membrane fouling in a Hybrid Membrane Process (HMP) due to the export of powdered activated carbon (PAC) fines from a pretreatment contactor. Two parallel pilot-scale ceramic and polymeric membranes were studied. Reversible and irreversible foulings were measured following three cleaning procedures: Physical backwashing (BW), chemically enhanced backwashing (CEB) and Clean-in-Place (CIP). The impacts on fouling of membrane type, operation flux increase and the presence/absence of the PAC pretreatment were investigated. Membranes without pretreatment were operated in parallel as a control. In addition, CIP washwaters samples were analyzed to measure organic and inorganic foulants removed from the membranes. It was observed that for the polymeric membranes, fouling generally increased with the presence of the PAC pretreatment because of the export of fines. On the contrary, the ceramic membranes were not significantly impacted by their presence. The analysis of CIP washwaters showed a greater total organic carbon (TOC) content on membranes with a PAC pretreatment while no similar conclusion could be made for inorganic foulants. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Efficiently Combining Water Reuse and Desalination through Forward Osmosis—Reverse Osmosis (FO-RO) Hybrids: A Critical Review
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 37; doi:10.3390/membranes6030037 -
Abstract
Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower
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Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower desalination energy needs and/or water augmentation can be obtained while delivering safe water for direct potable reuse thanks to the double dense membrane barrier protection. Typically, FO-RO hybrid can be a credible alternative to new desalination facilities or to implementation of stand-alone water reuse schemes. However, apart from the societal (public perception of water reuse for potable application) and water management challenges (proximity of wastewater and desalination plants), FO-RO hybrid has to overcome technical limitation such as low FO permeation flux to become economically attractive. Recent developments (i.e., improved FO membranes, use of pressure assisted osmosis, PAO) demonstrated significant improvement in water flux. However, flux improvement is associated with drawbacks, such as increased fouling behaviour, lower rejection of trace organic compounds (TrOCs) in PAO operation, and limitation in FO membrane mechanical resistance, which need to be better considered. To support successful implementation of FO-RO hybrid in the industry, further work is required regarding up-scaling to apprehend full-scale challenges in term of mass transfer limitation, pressure drop, fouling and cleaning strategies on a module scale. In addition, refined economics assessment is expected to integrate fouling and other maintenance costs/savings of the FO/PAO-RO hybrid systems, as well as cost savings from any treatment step avoided in the water recycling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biochip for the Detection of Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor and Therapeutic Agents against Anthrax Toxins
Membranes 2016, 6(3), 36; doi:10.3390/membranes6030036 -
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
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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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of High-Antifouling PPSU Ultrafiltration Membrane by Using Compound Additives: Preparation, Morphologies, and Filtration Resistant Properties
Membranes 2016, 6(2), 35; doi:10.3390/membranes6020035 -
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
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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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Emulsification Characteristics Using a Dynamic Woven Metal Microscreen Membrane
Membranes 2016, 6(2), 34; doi:10.3390/membranes6020034 -
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
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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. Full article
Open AccessReview
Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Technology for Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation: Membrane Fouling
Membranes 2016, 6(2), 33; doi:10.3390/membranes6020033 -
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
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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. Full article
Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Nicotera, I.; Angjeli, K.; Coppola, L.; Aricò, A.S.; Baglio, V. NMR and Electrochemical Investigation of the Transport Properties of Methanol and Water in Nafion and Clay-Nanocomposites Membranes for DMFCs. Membranes 2012, 2, 325–345
Membranes 2016, 6(2), 32; doi:10.3390/membranes6020032 -