Complex organic fouling and effect of silver nanoparticles on aquaporin forward osmosis membranes

Balkenov, Arman and Anuarbek, Amire and Satayeva, Aliya and Kim, Jong and Inglezakis, Vassilis and Arkhangelsky, Elizabeth (2020) Complex organic fouling and effect of silver nanoparticles on aquaporin forward osmosis membranes. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 34. 101177. ISSN 2214-7144 (

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Despite the negligible pressure used in forward osmosis (FO), the process still suffers from fouling. Recent studies demonstrated that this issue is common among all FO membrane types, including aquaporin-based filters. To address this problem, various approaches have been proposed. However, despite the biocidal effects of silver, no attempt has been made to apply silver for fouling mitigation in aquaporin FO membranes. Consequently, the present work focuses on the investigation of controlled combined organic fouling of aquaporin FO membranes and the effects of silver nanoparticles on the membrane performance and its properties. The obtained data show that in contrast with unaltered membranes, the membranes doped with silver nanoparticles are much more resistant to fouling. After the first filtration run, pristine membranes exhibited a flux decline of 50 %, while the flux decline of the modified membranes was limited to 10 %. Physical cleaning restored the flux of both membranes to 100 %. Analysis of the membranes showed that the membrane water flux was not affected by the covalent binding of the silver nanoparticles. Further, the membranes’ chemistry, zeta potential, contact angle, roughness, and antimicrobial resistance were altered.