Graphene-based antimicrobial polymeric membranes: a review
Biofouling is an inevitable obstacle that impairs the overall performance of polymeric membranes, including selectivity, permeability, and long-term stability. With an increase of various biocides being utilized to inhibit biofilm formation, the enhancement of bacterial resistance against traditional bactericides is increasingly becoming an extra challenge in the development of antimicrobial membranes. Graphene-based nanomaterials are emerging as a new class of strong antibacterial agents due to their oxygen-containing functional groups, sharp edges of the one-atom-thick laminar structure, and synergistic effect with other biocides. They have been successfully employed not only to confer favorable antibacterial abilities, but also to impart superior separation properties to polymeric membranes. However, the exact bactericidal mechanism of graphene remains unclear. This review aims to examine the synthesis methods and antimicrobial behavior of graphene-based materials, offering an insight into how the nanocomposites influence their antimicrobial abilities. Most importantly, the use of graphene-based nanomaterials in the design and development of antimicrobial membranes is highlighted.