The global contamination of water by antibiotics has imposed a great hazard to aquatic ecosystems and human health due to antimicrobial resistance. However, among technologies for the removal of antibiotics, traditional adsorbents are time-consuming (orders of hours). Membrane-based filtration is energy-intensive (reverse osmosis, 0.396–0.792 kWh m−3), requires high operating pressure (2–17 bar), and has limited flux. Herein, a flow-based coating strategy is first applied for a rapid and homogeneous deposition of bio-derived phenolic nanocoatings onto the surfaces of internal pore walls across the microporous membrane. The superior adsorption kinetics of nanocoatings enables the rapid capture of ten antibiotics, rendering ultrahigh permeance, high removal efficiency, and relatively low energy cost, which greatly outperforms most reported materials, suggesting an economically viable, energy-efficient, and sustainable method in an industrially scalable platform for pollutants removal from water.
Recently, the team of Professor Junling Guo of the School published a paper in the flagship journal of Cell Press, Matter (Impact Factors: 19.97) published "Microporous membranes for ultrafast and energy-efficient removal of antibiotics through polyphenol-mediated nanointerfaces ". In this work, the traditional microporous membrane was functionalized by natural plant polyphenols to form metal-polyphenol microporous adsorption membrane, so as to achieve high throughput and low energy consumption removal of antibiotics. Corresponding authors are Prof. Junling Guo and Associate Researcher Wang Xiaoling. The first author is Yu Wang, PhD candidate of 2019.
In the previous research work, led by Academician Shi Bi, Professor Liao Xuepin, and co-authored by Professor Guo Junling, the research on uranium extraction from seawater by plant tannin-modified water treatment film was published in the international top journal Energy Environ. Sci., 2019, 12, 607. The research was also named "Top Ten Basic Science Progress of Sichuan University in 2018". Based on such previous research, in this study, Professor Guo Junling's team further developed a natural plant polyphenol functionalized regenerable microporous adsorption film (PArab) film and applied it to the removal of antibiotics in water. The study realized the integration of the preparation of the microporous adsorption film, the removal of antibiotics and the recycling of the microporous adsorption film, which could avoid the complicated process of disassembly and replacement of the membrane in the actual water treatment and facilitate the practical application. The dynamic flow preparation process was used to achieve the uniform distribution of metal polyphenol supramolecular network nanocoatings on the microporous wall of polyamide (PA) film. In addition, due to the super-high adsorption rate and multi-force adsorption mechanism, the nanocoating can achieve broad spectrum removal of antibiotics. The technology has the advantages of ultra-high flow rate, high removal rate, low energy consumption and low price. It provides a new strategy for the development of future water pollutant removal technology.
Schematic illustration of three switchable process modes in an in-line water-purification system, antibiotic-removal performance, and characterizations of the PArab membrane
Regeneration tests, antibiotic-removal performance comparisons, and field studies from a poultry farm
The above research work was supported by "National Program for Overseas High-level Talents", "National Natural Science Foundation of China (22178233)", "Talent Fund of National Engineering Research Center for Clean Technology of Tanning", "Talent Fund of State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials Engineering" (sklpme) 2020-3-01) and "Double First-class Discipline Key Construction Fund".