Single-step assembly of multifunctional poly(tannic acid)-graphene oxide coating to reduce biofouling of forward osmosis membranes

Hanaa M. Hegab, Ahmed ElMekawy, Thomas G. Barclay, Andrew Michelmore, Linda Zou, Christopher P. Saint, Milena Ginic-Markovic

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets have antibacterial properties that have been exploited as a biocidal agent used on desalination membrane surfaces in recent research. Nonetheless, improved strategies for efficient and stable attachment of GO nanosheets onto the membrane surface are still required for this idea to be commercially viable. To address this challenge, we adopted a novel, single-step surface modification approach using tannic acid cross-linked with polyethylene imine as a versatile platform to immobilize GO nanosheets to the surface of polyamide thin film composite forward osmosis (FO) membranes. An experimental design based on Taguchi's statistical method was applied to optimize the FO processing conditions in terms of water and reverse solute fluxes. Modified membranes were analyzed using water contact angle, adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence, total organic carbon, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ζ potential, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. These results show that membranes were modified with a nanoscale (<10 nm), smooth, hydrophilic coating that, compared to pristine membranes, improved filtration and significantly mitigated biofouling by 33% due to its extraordinary, synergistic antibacterial properties (99.9%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17519-17528
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • antibiofouling
  • forward osmosis
  • graphene oxide
  • single-step multifunctional coating
  • Taguchi method
  • tannic acid

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