Enhanced fouling resistance and antibacterial properties of novel graphene oxide-arabic gum polyethersulfone membranes

Ahmad Najjar, Souhir Sabri, Rashad Al-Gaashani, Viktor Kochkodan, Muataz Atieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Membrane biofouling has proved to be a major obstacle when it comes to membrane efficiency in membrane-based water treatment. Solutions to this problem remain elusive. This study presents novel polyethersulfone (PES) membranes that are fabricated using the phase inversion method at different loadings of graphene oxide (GO) and 1 wt. % arabic gum (AG) as nanofiller and pore forming agents. Synthesized GO was examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for morphological studies and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) for elemental analysis. The prepared GO flakes showed a high content of oxygen-containing groups (~31%). The fabricated membranes were extensively characterized, including water contact angle analysis for hydrophilicity, zeta potential measurements for surface charge, SEM, total porosity and pore size measurements. The prepared membranes underwent fouling tests using bovine serum albumin (BSA) solutions and biofouling tests using model Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) bacterial suspensions as well as real treated sewage effluent (TSE). The results showed that the novel PES/GO membranes possessed strong hydrophilicity and negative surface charge with an increase in porosity, pore size and water flux. The PES/GO membranes exhibited superior antibacterial action against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial species, implicating PES membranes which incorporate GO and AG as novel membranes that are capable of high antibiofouling properties with high flux.

Original languageEnglish
Article number513
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2019


  • Arabic gum
  • Biofouling
  • Fouling
  • Graphene oxide
  • Hydrophilicity
  • Membranes
  • Polyether sulfone
  • Ultrafiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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