3D Natural Mesoporous Biosilica-Embedded Polysulfone Made Ultrafiltration Membranes for Application in Separation Technology

Polymers (Basel). 2022 Apr 26;14(9):1750. doi: 10.3390/polym14091750.


Diatoms are the most abundant photosynthetic microalgae found in all aquatic habitats. In the extant study, the spent biomass (after lipid extraction) of the centric marine diatom Thalassiosira lundiana CSIRCSMCRI 001 was subjected to acid digestion for the extraction of micro composite inorganic biosilica. Then, the resulting three-dimensional mesoporous biosilica material (diatomite) was used as a filler in polysulfone (PSF) membrane preparation by phase inversion. The fabricated PSF/diatomite composite membranes were characterized by SEM-EDX, TGA, and ATR-IR, and their performances were evaluated. The number of pores and pore size were increased on the membrane surface with increased diatomite in the composite membranes as compared to the control. The diatomite composite membranes had high hydrophilicity and thermal stability, lower surface roughness, and excellent water permeability. Membranes with high % diatomite, i.e., PSF/Dia0.5, had a maximum water flux of 806.8 LMH (Liter/m2/h) at 20 psi operating pressure. High-diatomite content membranes also exhibited the highest rejection of BSA protein (98.5%) and rhodamine 6G (94.8%). Similarly, in biomedical rejection tests, the PSF/Dia0.5 membrane exhibited a maximum rejection of ampicillin (75.84%) and neomycin (85.88%) at 20 Psi pressure. In conclusion, the mesoporous inorganic biosilica material was extracted from spent biomass of diatom and successfully used in filtration techniques. The results of this study could enhance the application of natural biogenic porous silica materials in wastewater treatment for water recycling.

PMID:35566918 | PMC:PMC9101741 | DOI:10.3390/polym14091750


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