A major limitation in using membrane-based separation processes is the loss of performance due to membrane fouling. This drawback can be addressed thanks to surface modification treatments. A new and promising surface modification using green chemistry has been recently investigated. This modification is carried out at room temperature and in aqueous medium using green catalyst (enzyme) and nontoxic modifier, which can be safely labelled “green surface modification”. This modification can be considered as a nucleus of new generation of antifouling membranes and surfaces. In the current research, ferulic acid modifier and laccase bio-catalyst were used to make poly(ethersulfone) (PES) membrane less vulnerable to protein adsorption. The blank and modified PES membranes are evaluated based on e.g., their flux and protein repellence. Both the blank and the modified PES membranes (or laminated PES on silicon dioxide surface) are characterized using many techniques e.g., SEM, EDX, XPS and SPM, etc.
The pure water flux of the most modified membranes was reduced by 10% on average relative to the blank membrane, and around a 94% reduction in protein adsorption was determined. In the conclusions section, a comparison between three modifiers—ferulic acid, and two other previously used modifiers (4-hydroxybenzoic acid and gallic acid)—is presented.
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