An EVOH nanofibrous sterile membrane with a robust and antifouling surface for high-performance sterile filtration via glutaraldehyde crosslinking and a plasma-assisted process†
Constructing a sterile membrane with a robust and antifouling surface is a powerful means to improve the sterile filtration efficiency of sterile membranes. In this work, a robust EVOH nanofibrous sterile membrane was facilely fabricated by the method of in situ crosslinking with glutaraldehyde and surface plasma treatment. The resultant EVOH nanofibrous sterile membrane possessed a carboxylated-crosslinked surface, with high hydrophilicity, which generated high chemical stability, high-temperature steam resistance, and an ultrahigh antifouling performance against bovine serum albumin, ribonucleic acid and nanoparticle pollutants. Moreover, the membrane also exhibited a reasonably high primary water permeance (4522.2 LMH bar−1 at 0.2 MPa), as well as an absolute interception rate (100%) of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus cells and Brevundimonas diminuta superior to the state-of-the-art sterile membrane. Moreover, the modified membrane packed syringe-driven filter presented 100% interception (LRV ≥ 7) to Brevundimonas diminuta and high permeation flux (from 10.8 to 41.8 L·h−1) in a wide operating pressure range of 0.1 MPa to 0.6 MPa, indicating its potential in real bio-separation applications. This work provides a facile strategy for the preparation of a high-performance sterile membrane for biological drug product sterilization.