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Processes 2019, 7(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7020076

Increasing Salt Rejection of Polybenzimidazole Nanofiltration Membranes via the Addition of Immobilized and Aligned Aquaporins

1
Chemical and Materials Engineering Department, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
2
Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 3 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Membrane Technologies for Traditional Industrial Processes)
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Abstract

Aquaporins are water channel proteins in cell membrane, highly specific for water molecules while restricting the passage of contaminants and small molecules, such as urea and boric acid. Cysteine functional groups were installed on aquaporin Z for covalent attachment to the polymer membrane matrix so that the proteins could be immobilized to the membranes and aligned in the direction of the flow. Depth profiling using x-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) analysis showed the presence of functional groups corresponding to aquaporin Z modified with cysteine (Aqp-SH). Aqp-SH modified membranes showed a higher salt rejection as compared to unmodified membranes. For 2 M NaCl and CaCl2 solutions, the rejection obtained from Aqp-SH membranes was 49.3 ± 7.5% and 59.1 ± 5.1%. On the other hand, the rejections obtained for 2 M NaCl and CaCl2 solutions from unmodified membranes were 0.8 ± 0.4% and 1.3 ± 0.2% respectively. Furthermore, Aqp-SH membranes did not show a significant decrease in salt rejection with increasing feed concentrations, as was observed with other membranes. Through simulation studies, it was determined that there was approximately 24% capping of membrane pores by dispersed aquaporins. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaporins; nanofiltration; immobilization; biomimetic aquaporins; nanofiltration; immobilization; biomimetic
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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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Wagh, P.; Zhang, X.; Blood, R.; Kekenes-Huskey, P.M.; Rajapaksha, P.; Wei, Y.; Escobar, I.C. Increasing Salt Rejection of Polybenzimidazole Nanofiltration Membranes via the Addition of Immobilized and Aligned Aquaporins. Processes 2019, 7, 76.

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