Objective

Fabricate zwitterionic diblock copolymer aimed to modify surfaces and membranes that will provide us with optimal reduction of biofouling propensity.

Technical Approach

Synthesizing the block-copolymer, polystyrene bonded to the alternating peptide lysine-glutamic acid (PS-b[(KE)alt]15), to prove its self assembly on Polystyrene surfaces to analyze its interactions with bacteria and biofilms

Accomplishments

  • Formation of the PS-b-[(KE)alt]15 brush was analyzed including the layer hydration (swelling) and the related anti-polyelectrolytic effects
  • Anti-biofouling properties were elucidated:
    1. extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) adsorption
    2. bacterial attachment
    3. mono-culture biofilm formation
  • All these biofouling related processes were significantly affected

Next Steps

  • Viscoelastic properties of the brush will be compared to the QCM-D results
  • Effects of brush density and polymer size will be elucidated
  • RO membranes will be modified and tested

Impact

  • A paper is currently in preparation process on mitigation of biofouling by PS-b[(KE)alt]15 BCP
  • A short lecture will be conducted in the ACS workshop: “Advances in Materials and Processes for Polymeric Membrane Mediated Water Purification”, February 15-18, 2015, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California USA