In this study, we report the impact of the magnetic field on protein permeability through magnetic-responsive, block copolymer, nanocomposite membranes with hydrophilic and hydrophobic characters. The hydrophilic nanocomposite membranes were composed of spherical polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) synthesized through polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) with iron oxide NPs coated with quaternized poly(2-dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate. The hydrophobic nanocomposite membranes were prepared via nonsolvent-induced phase separation (NIPS) containing poly (methacrylic acid) and meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPNPs). The permeation experiments were carried out using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as the model solute, in the absence of the magnetic field and under permanent and cyclic magnetic field conditions OFF/ON (strategy 1) and ON/OFF (strategy 2). It was observed that the magnetic field led to a lower reduction in the permeate fluxes of magnetic-responsive membranes during BSA permeation, regardless of the magnetic field strategy used, than that obtained in the absence of the magnetic field. Nevertheless, a comparative analysis of the effect caused by the two cyclic magnetic field strategies showed that strategy 2 allowed for a lower reduction of the original permeate fluxes during BSA permeation and higher protein sieving coefficients. Overall, these novel magneto-responsive block copolymer nanocomposite membranes proved to be competent in mitigating biofouling phenomena in bioseparation processes.
- Block copolymers
- Magneto-responsive membranes
- Protein filtration
- Superparamagnetic nanoparticles