Effect of membrane morphology on the initial rate of protein fouling during microfiltration

Chia Chi Ho, Andrew L. Zydney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


Protein fouling remains a major problem in the use of microfiltration for many bioprocessing applications. Experiments were performed to evaluate the effect of membrane morphology and pore structure on protein fouling using different track-etched, isotropic, and asymmetric microfiltration membranes. Fouling of membranes with straight-through pores occurred by pore blockage caused by deposition of large protein aggregates on the membrane surface. However, the rate of blockage was a function of the membrane porosity due to the possibility of multiple pore blockage by a single protein aggregate on high porosity membranes. Membranes with interconnected pores fouled more slowly since the fluid could flow around the blocked pores through the interconnected pore structure. This behavior was quantified using model membrane systems with well-defined pore morphology constructed from track-etch and isotropic membranes in a layered series combination. These results provide important insights into the effects of membrane pore structure and morphology on protein fouling. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 12 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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