An electrokinetic approach to fabricating aquaporin biomimetic membranes for water purification
Publication date: 15 February 2019
Source: Desalination, Volume 452
Author(s): Ahmed Fuwad, Hyunil Ryu, Jun-Hee Lee, Daejoong Kim, Yeong-Eun Yoo, Young-Rok Kim, Sun Min Kim, Tae-Joon Jeon
Membrane technology has been dominating the water desalination industry for decades due to its high efficiency and reliability. However, conventional membrane materials present performance limitations; thus, the demand for the development of new material is high. In recent years, aquaporin biomimetic membranes have emerged as a next-generation water desalination platform based on natural phenomena. Aquaporin is a natural water-selective protein that possesses exceptional water selectively and permeability properties. However, aquaporin must be embedded in an amphiphilic structure, such as a cell membrane, and the mimetic structure and stability of these environments represent key factors for successful water purification systems. Herein, we report an electrokinetic approach that stabilizes the aquaporin-containing membranes on a porous substrate under an applied electric field, resulting in an exceptionally stable and uniform biomimetic membrane on a solid support. The surface morphological analysis shows that the liposomes retained their perfect shape and size and did not present fusion or aggregation. Moreover, under forward osmosis, our membrane presents a salt rejection rate that reached 97.8 ± 0.7% with 7.45 ± 0.62 Lm−2h−1 (LMH) of water flux.