Protein mass transfer enhancement in the membrane filtration-cum-adsorption process

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The effects of protein adsorption by adsorbents at the membrane permeate side on protein transmission through an ultrafiltration membrane are examined using a pseudo-steady state convection-diffusion model. The permeate side protein concentration gradient formed by the ultrafiltration-cum-adsorption process can enhance the total protein transmission rate considerably at low values of permeate flux. The permeate bulk protein concentration does not affect the enhancement effect much as long as it is relatively lower than the feed bulk concentration; it is most often the case for ultrafiltration-cum-adsorption during the protein loading period in a ultrafiltration-cum-adsorption process. The larger the membrane pore size and the thinner the membrane skin layer, the more significant the enhancement effect due to permeate side protein adsorption in the beads. For binary protein mixtures, the ideal situation will be using an adsorbent which selectively binds only the desired protein and therefore its transmission will be enhanced. In cases where the adsorbent will bind both proteins, transmission of the smaller protein will be enhanced more significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Adsorption on a bead
  • Mass transfer enhancement
  • Microfiltration
  • Ultrafiltration


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