Biocatalytic membranes through aqueous phase separation

Jéré J. van Lente, M. Irshad Baig, Wiebe M. de Vos, Saskia Lindhoud*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Hypothesis: Test Polymer membranes play a critical role in water treatment, chemical industry, and medicine. Unfortunately, the current standard for polymer membrane production requires unsustainable and harmful organic solvents. Aqueous phase separation (APS) has recently been proposed as a method to produce membranes in a more sustainable manner through induced polyelectrolyte complexation in aqueous solutions. Experiments: We demonstrate that APS has another natural advantage that goes beyond sustainability: the easy incorporation of enzymes in the membrane structure. Biocatalytic membranes hold great promise in for example biorefinery, but the most common current post-production processes to immobilize enzymes on the membrane surface are complicated and expensive. Findings: In this study we demonstrated the first biocatalytic membrane produced via APS. We demonstrate an easy procedure to incorporate lysozyme in polyelectrolyte complex membranes made via APS. Our functionalized membranes have the same structure, water permeability (in the range of high nanofiltration, low ultrafiltration), and retention as membranes without lysozyme. Lysozyme is antibacterial by catalysing the hydrolysis of specific peptidoglycan bonds in bacteria walls. We demonstrate that the functionalized membranes are also capable of catalysing this reaction. The membranes remain enzymatically active for a period of at least one week. This opens new routes to produce polymer membranes with added biological function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-910
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of colloid and interface science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022


  • Aqueous phase separation
  • Biocatalytic membrane(s)
  • Enzyme(s)
  • Lysozyme
  • Membrane(s)
  • Polyelectrolyte complex(es)
  • Polyelectrolyte(s)
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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