Facile fouling resistant surface modification of microfiltration cellulose acetate membranes by using amino acid l-DOPA

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A major obstacle in the widespread application of microfiltration membranes in the wet separation processes such as wastewater treatment is the decline of permeates flux as a result of fouling. This study reports on the surface modification of cellulose acetate (CA) microfiltration membrane with amino acid l-3,4-dihydroxy-phenylalanine (l-DOPA) to improve fouling resistance of the membrane. The membrane surface was characterised using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), water contact angle and zeta potential measurement. Porosity measurement showed a slight decrease in membrane porosity due to coating. Static adsorption experiments revealed an improved resistance of the modified membranes towards the adhesion of bovine serum albumin (BSA) as the model foulant. Dead end membrane filtration tests exhibited that the fouling resistance of the modified membranes was improved. However, the effect of the modification depended on the foulant solution concentration. It is concluded that l-DOPA modification is a convenient and non-destructive approach to enable low-BSA adhesion surface modification of CA microfiltration membranes. Nevertheless, the extent of fouling resistance improvement depends on the foulant concentration.

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