The use of enzymatic agents as biological solutions for cleaning ion-exchange membranes fouled by organic compounds during electrodialysis (ED) treatments in the food industry could be an interesting alternative to chemical cleanings implemented at an industrial scale. This paper is focused on testing the cleaning efficiency of three enzyme classes (β-glucanase, protease, and polyphenol oxidase) chosen for their specific actions on polysaccharides, proteins, and phenolic compounds, respectively, fouled on a homogeneous cation-exchange membrane (referred CMX-Sb) used for tartaric stabilization of red wine by ED in industry. First, enzymatic cleaning tests were performed using each enzyme solution separately with two different concentrations (0.1 and 1.0 g/L) at different incubation temperatures (30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 °C). The evolution of membrane parameters (electrical conductivity, ion-exchange capacity, and contact angle) was determined to estimate the efficiency of the membrane′s principal action as well as its side activities. Based on these tests, we determined the optimal operating conditions for optimal recovery of the studied characteristics. Then, cleaning with three successive enzyme solutions or the use of two enzymes simultaneously in an enzyme mixture were tested taking into account the optimal conditions of their enzymatic activity (concentration, temperatures, and pH). This study led to significant results, indicating effective external and internal cleaning by the studied enzymes (a recovery of at least 25% of the electrical conductivity, 14% of the ion-exchange capacity, and 12% of the contact angle), and demonstrated the presence of possible enzyme combinations for the enhancement of the global cleaning efficiency or reducing cleaning durations. These results prove, for the first time, the applicability of enzymatic cleanings to membranes, the inertia of their action towards polymer matrix to the extent that the choice of enzymes is specific to the fouling substrates.
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