Polysulfone ultrafiltration membranes impregnated with silver nanoparticles show improved biofouling resistance and virus removal
Zodrow, Katherine Rey
Alvarez, Pedro J.
Master of Science
Biofouling and virus penetration are two significant obstacles in water treatment membrane filtration. Biofouling reduces membrane permeability, increases energy costs, and decreases the lifetime of membranes. In order to effectively remove viruses, nanofiltration or reverse osmosis (both high energy filtration schemes) must be used. Thus, there is an urgent demand for low pressure membranes with anti-biofouling and anti-viral properties. The antibacterial properties of silver are well-known, and silver nanoparticles (nAg) are now incorporated into a wide variety of consumer products for microbial control. In this study, nAg incorporated into polysulfone ultrafiltration membranes (nAg-PSf) exhibited antimicrobial properties towards a variety of bacteria, including Escherichia coli K12 and Pseudomonas mendocina KR1, and enhanced the removal of MS2 bacteriophage. Nanosilver incorporation also increased membrane hydrophilicity, reducing the potential for other types of membrane fouling. Thus, the incorporation of nAg into polysulfone ultrafiltration membranes increases both membrane efficiency and effectiveness.