Yeast fermentation inspired Ca-alginate hydrogel membrane: lower transparency, hierarchical pore structure and higher hydrophobicity†
With a fantastic combination of yeast fermentation and hydrogel membrane formation, a series of microorganism inspired porous hydrogel membranes (MIHM) with various mass ratios of yeast/sodium alginate (SA) were developed. The yeast cells were firstly activated by addition of glucose for generating byproduct carbon dioxide (CO2), inducing the formation of porous structures. The ionic cross-linking between calcium chloride and SA was subsequently performed based on an egg-box model. It is of interest to note that the obtained MIHM hydrogel membranes exhibited decreased transparency and hierarchical porous structure with pore sizes varying from 2 nm to 1 mm, giving rise to significantly increased contact angle (CA) values from 63.65° to 107.83° and obviously decreased equilibrium swelling ratios from 79.72 to 18.05. Especially, the adsorption kinetics of crystal violet (CV) show that the MIHM hydrogel membrane exhibited an encouraging uptake capacity of 18.40 mg g−1 at 10 mg g−1 and the adsorption kinetics of CV could be well defined by a pseudo-first-order kinetic equation. Owing to great advantages in facile fabrication, high efficiency, low cost and desirable biocompatibility, the MIHM hydrogel membrane can be large-scale fabricated and used for industry and agriculture.