(650c) Quaternized Chitosan Electrospun Membranes for Virus Removal

Authors: 
Heldt, C. L., Michigan Technological University
Mi, X., Michigan Technological University



For remote or personal water systems, small pore size membranes can be added to reject bacteria and viruses from water purely based on size; but, the small pore size required to remove these pathogens often increases membrane fouling and leads to large membrane areas, high transmembrane pressures, low water flux,  and frequent changing of membranes.  This increases the cost of water filtration.  In order to make clean water more accessible to everyone, there is an urgent need for improved water disinfection technology.  Our goal is to create functionalized, large pore-sized membranes that have the ability to absorb virus and bacteria.  Membranes with pores on the order of microns have the advantage of increased flow rate and reduced membrane fouling.  As a first step in our goal to create water filtration membranes, we have created membranes made of biocompatible, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly chitosan that have been functionalized to contain a quaternary amine.  This quaternary amine polymer is electrospun with polyvinyl alcohol to create high surface area adsorbants.  These membranes have an increased surface area as compared to microfibers and are on the same size scale as viruses, creating a curved surface that has the potential to improve virus adsorption.  The cationic quaternary amine polymer has a strong positive charge that facilitates virus adsorption.  Surfaces have been created that remove >99.9% of a model, non-enveloped virus.  The relationship between fiber diameter and pore size will allow us to characterize the binding of viruses to electrospun nanofibers.  This study will improve our understanding of virus binding to nanofibers and allow us to engineer improved membranes for future virus removal systems.