Antifouling Ultrafiltration Membranes via Post-Fabrication Grafting of Biocidal Nanomaterials

Meagan S. Mauter, Yue Wang, Kaetochi C. Okemgbo, Chinedum O. Osuji, Emmanuel P. Giannelis, Menachem Elimelech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations


Figure Presented: Ultrafiltration (UF) membranes perform critical pre-treatment functions in advanced water treatment processes. In operational systems, however, biofouling decreases membrane performance and increases the frequency and cost of chemical cleaning. The present work demonstrates a novel technique for covalently or ionically tethering antimicrobial nanoparticles to the surface of UF membranes. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) encapsulated in positively charged polyethyleneimine (PEI) were reacted with an oxygen plasma modified polysulfone UF membrane with and without 1-ethyl-3-(3- dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) present. The nucleophilic primary amines of the PEI react with the electrophilic carboxyl groups on the UF membrane surface to form electrostatic and covalent bonds. The irreversible modification process imparts significant antimicrobial activity to the membrane surface. Post-synthesis functionalization methods, such as the one presented here, maximize the density of nanomaterials at the membrane surface and may provide a more efficient route for fabricating diverse array of reactive nanocomposite membranes. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2861-2868
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 7 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-018-02
Acknowledgements: This publication is based on work supported by Award No. KUS-C1-018-02, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). MSM acknowledges generous support from the AWWA Abel Wolman Fellowship, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), and the EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Fellowship Program.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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