Summary: Hydrophobic poly(propylene) hollow fiber microporous membranes (PPHFMMs) were surface-modified by nitrogen plasma-induced tethering of α-allyl glucoside (AG). Their antifouling characteristics in a submerged membrane bioreactor (SMBR) were investigated. The chemical composition of the modified and unmodified PPHFMMs was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Water contact angle was measured by the sessile drop method. Results of XPS clearly indicated that sugar moieties could be tethered on the membrane surface. Water contact angle on the modified membrane showed a minimum value of 64°, approximately 64° lower than that on the unmodified membrane. After continuous operation in a SMBR for about 160 h, the flux recovery, the reduction of flux and the relative flux ratio for the modified PPHFMMs were 17.8% higher, 5.1% lower and 140% higher than those of the nascent one, respectively.
Schematic representation of plasma-induced tethering of α-allyl glucoside on a PPHFMM surface.