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Open AccessArticle

Photocatalytic Membrane Reactor (PMR) for Virus Removal in Drinking Water: Effect of Humic Acid

School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
Faculty of Architectural, Civil Engineering and Environment, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2018, 8(7), 284;
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalytic Membrane Reactors)
PDF [2671 KB, uploaded 16 July 2018]


In the actual water environment, the health risk of waterborne viruses is evaluated to be 101–104 times higher at a similar level of exposure compared with bacteria and has aroused strong concern in many countries in the world. Photocatalytic membrane reactor (PMR), a new process for virus inactivation in water, has gradually become one of the main tools to inactivate pathogenic organisms in water. However, there is relatively little attention to the effect of natural organic matters (NOMs) on the PMR system, which actually exists in the water environment. In this paper, the TiO2-P25, a common type in sales and marketing, was selected as the photocatalyst, and humic acid was regarded as the representative substance of NOMs for investigating thoroughly the influence of humic acid on virus removal by the PMR system. It was found that competitive adsorption between the virus and humic acid occurred, which markedly reduced the amount of virus adsorbed on the surface of the photocatalyst. Moreover, with humic acid, the direct contact behavior between the virus and the photocatalyst was blocked to some extent, and the disinfection of phage f2 by the active free radicals produced by photocatalysis was furthermore badly affected. Meanwhile, the special structure of humic acid, which made humic acid be able to absorb light of 270–500 nm, led to the reduction of photocatalytic efficiency. Further experiments showed that when there was a certain concentration of humic acid in water, intermittent operation mode or higher membrane flux (>40 L/(m2·h)) was selected to partly alleviate the adverse effects of humic acid. View Full-Text
Keywords: PMR; NOMs; humic acid; virus; photocatalysis; adsorption; active radicals PMR; NOMs; humic acid; virus; photocatalysis; adsorption; active radicals

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cheng, R.; Shen, L.; Wang, Q.; Xiang, S.; Shi, L.; Zheng, X.; Lv, W. Photocatalytic Membrane Reactor (PMR) for Virus Removal in Drinking Water: Effect of Humic Acid. Catalysts 2018, 8, 284.

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