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Molecular Probes for Biofouling monitoring in Membrane Processes


The core concept of this research project is the development and exploitation of specific molecular probes as innovative tools for monitoring membrane processes in-situ and at molecular level overcoming the limitations of the traditional techniques employed. Project objectives will be achieved through the incorporation, at membrane surface, of molecular probes sensitive to oxygen and able to provide information about the oxygen concentration at the boundary layer related to the growth of biofouling. This will allow to monitor the biofilm onset by monitoring the oxygen change in concentration due to its consumption, when aerobic microorganisms are used, or due to its production, when microalgae are used. In particular, the proposed approach will be very beneficial in such processes where oxygen depletion or production takes place, such as membrane bioreactors (MBRs). The properties exhibited by the smart membranes containing the molecular probes, will allow measuring the oxygen concentration in real time, in-situ, at molecular level and by means of a non-destructive technique.
The possibility of knowing a priori the biofouling onset occurring at membrane surface and caused by aerobic microorganisms or microalgae will represent an important breakthrough for the improvement and optimization of the overall membrane process. It will enable, in fact, a precocious intervention steered to mitigate the biofouling formation before the resulting decline of membrane performance.

Call for proposal

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Campus De Campolide
1099 085 Lisboa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 147 815,04