Roberto Rosal

Roberto Rosal
University of Alcalá | UAH

Professor
Professor of Chemical Engineering

About

159
Publications
86,798
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7,078
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Introduction
Professor Rosal's research over last years has addressed topics relating to Environmental Chemistry and Materials Science. The main focuses are: (i) the fate and removal of aqueous (micro)pollutants from water and wastewater, (ii) the toxicity assessment of emerging pollutants, their mixtures and by-products, (iii) the biological effect of engineered nanomaterials, (iv) the formation and biological effects of incidental micro- and nanoplastics, and (v) the production of nanostrutured surfaces and their interaction with cells, which includes electrospun nanofibrous materials, filtration membranes and antimicrobial surfaces.

Publications

Publications (159)
Article
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This work studied the occurrence of microplastics in primary and secondary effluents and mixed sludge of a WWTP as well as in processed heat-dried sludge marketed as soil amendment. Sampled microparticles were divided into fragments and fibres, the latter defined as those with cylindrical shape and length to diameter ratio >3. We showed the presenc...
Article
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Nowadays, there is no direct evidence about the presence of microplastics (MPs) in the atmosphere above ground level. Here, we investigated the occurrence, chemical composition, shape, and size of MPs in aircraft sampling campaigns flying within and above the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The results showed that MPs were present with concentratio...
Article
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The morphological description of microplastic particles is mostly based on subjective descriptors. However, data intercomparison requires unambiguous classifications. This work presents a morphological description based on the lengths of the smallest enclosing orthogonal parallelepiped. Three dimensionless parameters, namely equancy, platiness and...
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Plastic litter dispersed in the different environmental compartments represents one of the most concerning problems associated with human activities. Specifically, plastic particles in the micro and nano size scale are ubiquitous and represent a threat to human health and the environment. In the last few decades, a huge amount of research has been...
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Pesticides are agrochemical compounds used to kill pests (insects, rodents, fungi, or unwanted plants), which are key to meet the world food demand. Regrettably, some important issues associated with their widespread/extensive use (contamination, bioaccumulation, and development of pest resistances) demand a reduction in the amount of pesticide app...
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Bioplastics are thought as a safe substitute of non-biodegradable polymers. However, once released in the environment, biodegradation may be very slow, and they also suffer abiotic fragmentation processes, which may give rise to different fractions of polymer sizes. We present novel data on abiotic hydrolytic degradation of polycaprolactone (PCL),...
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There is an increasing need for photocatalytic materials capable to remove pollutants and to deactivate microorganisms for a wide range of applications. Here we report the preparation of fly ash-based zeolite material in which ZnO was incorporating using an alkaline hydrothermal method. The zeolitic materials were used to functionalized glass subst...
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The generation of small fragments from the environmental ageing of microplastics (MPs) is still a poorly known process. This work addresses the fragmentation of MPs obtained from marine debris consisting of polyethylene and polypropylene (PE and PP in environmental mixture) and polystyrene (PS) after exposure to accelerated ageing by irradiation an...
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This work investigated the structural and chemical changes of plastics undergoing accelerated ageing upon irradiation that simulated the ultraviolet component of solar radiation for a five-year period. The plastics selected were polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) microplastic debris sampled from a sandy beach as well as pure pellets and fragm...
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Current knowledge on the capacity of plastics as vectors of microorganisms and their ability to transfer microorganisms between different habitats (i.e. air, soil and river) is limited. The objective of this study was to characterise the evolution of the bacterial community adhered to environmental plastics [low-density polyethylene (LDPE)] across...
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The knowledge about the interaction of nanoplastics with other aquatic pollutants and their combined effects on biota is very scarce. In this work, we studied the interaction between polystyrene nanoplastics (PS NPs) (30 nm) and the micropollutants in a biologically treated wastewater effluent (WW). The capacity of PS NPs to sorb micropollutants wa...
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The pollution due to the presence of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) is a major cause for concern because of the serious threat it supposes to human health and ecosystem functions. Many efforts have been geared toward their removal to guarantee safer freshwater. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline hybrid materials with high surf...
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Ingestion of microplastics by aquatic organisms is often harmful due to the dilution of their regular food with low-calorie microplastic particles, but can also be beneficial if nutritious biofilms are present on the microplastic surface. This begs the question: is ingestion of microplastic harmful or beneficial and can the net effect of the two me...
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Infectious diseases are still a major cause of death worldwide. One way of fighting against infectious agents is to develop intrinsically antimicrobial materials to reduce the risk of pathogen spreading through contact with surfaces. Photoactive coatings offer the possibility to produce long-lasting antimicrobial surfaces that destroy microorganism...
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Two synthesized zirconium-based Metal-Organic Frameworks (Zr-MOFs), using 2,6-naphthalenedicarboxylic acid (NDC) and amino-functionalized NDC (4,8-diaminonaphthalene-2,6-dicarboxylic acid, NDC-2NH2) as linkers, have been studied in photoelectrocatalytic disinfection processes. The Zr-based MOFs were deposited onto graphite paper and were deeply ana...
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Composted Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) is used in agricultural soils as a source of organic matter and nutrients. Besides, its use avoids landfilling or incineration following the principles of circular economy. It is well established that source separated OFMSW is suitable for compost production, but its quality depends on the...
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In this work, we studied the hydrolytic and photochemical degradation of three low-density polyethylene (LDPE) materials, within the size range of microplastics (MP). The MPs were exposed to mechanical agitation and UV irradiation equivalent to one year of solar UVB + UVA in a stirred photoreactor. Flow cytometry was used to track the formation of...
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Microbial contamination is a challenging concern due to the health threat caused by infections. Therefore, the development of efficient antimicrobial materials and processes is a crucial need for disinfecting water and surfaces. In this study, electrospray was used to prepare composite photoanodes for photoelectrodisinfection. Titanium dioxide (TiO...
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The amount of plastics produced per year is in constant growth alongside their use in different sectors like the textile industry, agriculture or, more recently, in nanotechnology. Under certain environmental conditions, plastics break down into smaller pieces. Those plastics in the nanosize range are the most difficult to identify, quantify and re...
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Plastics have been found in several compartments in Antarctica. However, there is currently no evidence of their presence on Antarctic glaciers. Our pilot study investigated plastic occurrence on two ice surfaces (one area around Uruguay Lake and another one around Ionosferico Lake) that constitute part of the ablation zone of Collins Glacier (King...
Article
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Microplastics (MPs) have been found everywhere as they are easily transported between environmental compartments. Through their transport, MPs are quickly colonized by microorganisms; this microbial community is known as the plastisphere. Here, we characterized the plastisphere of three MPs, one biodegradable (PHB) and two non-biodegradables (HDPE...
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This work reports the use of conjugated polymer nanostructures (CPNs) as photoactivated antimicrobial compounds against Gram-positive and Gram-negative microorganisms. Two representative CPNs of polythiophene (PEDOT) and polyaniline (PANI) were prepared as nanofibres with an average diameter of 40 nm and length in the micrometer range. Both CPNs ex...
Article
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The antimicrobial lysozyme (Lys) was electrostatically incorporated to negatively charged crosslinked poly(glycidyl methacrylate) (c-PGMA) macromolecular assemblies. The resulting material was characterized by AFM, infrared spectra, water contact angle measurements and the staining with the primary amino specific dye fluorescamine. c-PGMA nanoparti...
Preprint
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In this work, the antibacterial activity of the polymeric precursor dicarbonyldichlororuthenium has been studied against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. This Ru carbonyl precursor shows minimum inhibitory concentration at nanogram per millilitre, which renders it a novel antimicrobial polymer without any organic ligands. Besides, dicarb...
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Despite the large number of recent studies on microplastics (MPs) and their ability to act as carriers of pollutants, the knowledge about the biological effects of MPs loaded with chemicals is scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of MPs as vectors for the antimicrobial triclosan (TCS). For it, we tested low-density polyethyle...
Article
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Microbial colonization of microplastics (MPs) in aquatic ecosystems is a well-known phenomenon; however, there is insufficient knowledge of the early colonization phase. Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents have been proposed as important pathways for MPs entry and transport in aquatic environments and are hotspots of bacterial pathogens and...
Article
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The physical-chemical properties of polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers give them attractive qualities for multiple applications, including biomedical purposes. Their use has significantly increased in recent years, and there is currently a lack of information on their potential adverse effects on biological systems, which raises particular concerns...
Article
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Infectious diseases of humans and wildlife are increasing globally but the contribution of novel artificial anthropogenic entities such as nano-sized plastics to disease dynamics remain unknown. Despite mounting evidence for the adverse effects of nanoplastics (NPs) on single organisms, it is unclear whether and how they affect the interaction betw...
Article
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Ruthenium coordination compounds have demonstrated a promising anticancer and antibacterial activity, but their poor water solubility and low stability under physiological conditions may limit their therapeutic applications. Physical encapsulation or covalent conjugation with polymers may overcome these drawbacks, but generally involve multistep re...
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Microplastics are ubiquitous and their sampling is a difficult task. Honeybees interact with the environment inside their foraging range and take pollutants with them. In this work, we demonstrated for the first time that worker bees can act as active samplers of microplastics. We collected honeybees from apiaries located in the centre of Copenhage...
Article
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Microplastics have been found in all environmental compartments investigated so far, even reaching remote areas. However, their presence in Antarctic freshwaters has not been yet reported. Here, we investigated the occurrence of microplastics in a stream from an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (Byers Peninsula, Livingston Island-ASPA No. 126), w...
Article
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Water pollution due to microplastics (MPs) is recognized as a major anthropogenic impact. Once MPs reach the ecosystems, they are exposed to a variety of other pollutants, which can be sorbed on them, transported and eventually desorbed. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that MPs can behave as conveyors for delivering chemicals toxic to aquati...
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The World Health Organization Global Action Plan recommends integrated surveillance programs as crucial strategies for monitoring antibiotic resistance. Although several national surveillance programs are in place for clinical and veterinary settings, no such schemes exist for monitoring antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment. In this tra...
Preprint
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Plastics have been found in marine water and sediments, sea ice, marine invertebrates, and penguins in Antarctica; however, there is no evidence of their presence in Antarctic glaciers. Our pilot study investigated plastic occurrence on two ice surfaces that constitute part of the ablation zone of Collins Glacier (King George Island, Antarctica). O...
Article
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Fibers are found in all environments. However, the impact of their presence on ecosystems and human health is not yet well understood, especially in the case of the atmosphere. In this work, we presented evidence that fibers traveling through the atmosphere act as vectors to spread microorganisms. Here, we investigated the presence of viable microo...
Article
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Highly efficient photoactive antimicrobial coatings were obtained using zinc oxide-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposites (ZnO-rGO). Their remarkable antibacterial activity and high stability demonstrated their potential use for photoactive biocide surfaces. ZnO-rGO nanocomposites were prepared by sol-gel technique to create photocatalytic surfaces...
Article
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The demand for new water resources has been increasing worldwide due to the growing global population and industrialization. Membranes play a central role in water purification processes with continuous technology improvements, new uses and cost reductions. Phase inversion is the most commonly used technique for preparing polymeric membranes. Howev...
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Poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) ultrafiltration membranes with improved antifouling and antibiofouling properties were prepared by non-solvent induced phase inversion using a hyperbranched polyamidoamine as additive. PVC reacted into the casting solution with the commercial polyamidoamine nanomaterial Helux-3316 by means of a nucleophilic substitution r...
Article
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We studied the occurrence of microplastics in sediments of artificially and non-artificially recharged lagoons from the network of endorheic wetlands called “La Mancha Húmeda”, declared Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The particles sampled in this study covered the 25 μm–5 mm range. Films were the dominant microplastic typology in non-artificially rec...
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We investigated the presence of microplastics and other anthropogenic litter in the sediments adhered to rocks of an Arctic freshwater lake at Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard Archipelago, 78°N; 11°E). Most of the sampled microparticles were fibers (>90%). The identification of polymer types and additives was performed by combining three spectroscopic techniqu...
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The relevant information about the impacts caused by presence of emerging pollutants in mixtures on the ecological environment, especially on the more vulnerable compartments such as activated sludge (AS) is relatively limited. This study investigated the effect of ibuprofen (IBU) and triclosan (TCS), alone and in combination to the performance and...
Article
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The development of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) for bio-applications has gained great relevance over the last years, mainly due to their potential as drug carriers and/or imaging agents. Although the bioactive azelaic acid has also been widely used as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory drug, it presents low solubility, being of utmost import...
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Due to their ecological relevance, low cost, and easy maintenance, cyanobacteria have been used for bioreporter development. In this study, a battery of cyanobacterial bioreporters has been used to assess the ecotoxicity of four highly used metallic nanoparticles (NPs). The toxicity of these NPs was tested using the bioreporter Nostoc CPB4337 (Anab...
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Surface biofilm inhibition is still currently a considerable challenge. Among other organisms, Staphylococcus aureus is notable for its ability to form a strong biofilm with proved resistance to chemotherapy. Contamination of high-touch surfaces with S. aureus biofilm not only promotes disease spread but also generates tremendous health-associated...
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Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) have been widely studied for different biomedical and environmental applications. In this study we evaluated the toxicity and potential alterations of relevant physiological parameters caused to the microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (C. reinhardtii) upon exposure to SPION. The results showed dose...
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Carbon-based nanomaterials exhibit unique properties that make them suitable for a wide variety of industrial and biomedical applications. In this work, we studied the acute toxicity of graphite-diamond nanoparticles (GDN) combined with the fungicide thiabendazole (TBZ) to the immobilization of the cladoceran Daphnia magna in the presence and absen...
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Due to the wide range of applications of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeO2NPs), a risk assessment of their biological effects using environmentally relevant species becomes highly important. There are contradictory reports on the effects of CeO2NPs, which may be related to the use of different types of nanoparticles (NPs) and coatings. CeO2NPs may a...
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This work studied the accumulation of plastic debris in a remote beach located in La Graciosa island (Chinijo archipelago, Canary Islands). Microplastics were sampled in the 1–5 mm mesh opening range. An average plastic density of 36.3 g/m2 was obtained with a large variability along the 90 m of the beach (from 8.5 g/m2 to 103.4 g/m2). Microplastic...
Article
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Over the last five decades, plastics production has increased as a consequence of their use in strategic sectors causing damage on aquatic ecosystems. In this context, biodegradable plastics have emerged as an ecological alternative because they are easily degradable in the environment. Despite the recent advances in the field of plastic ecotoxicol...
Article
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Hyperbranched polymers are nanomaterials belonging to the class of dendritic architectures with increasing applications in many diverse fields. We studied the toxicity of two hyperbranched polymers to the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna. A hyperbranched hydroxyl-terminated polyester and a commercial hyperbranched polyamidoamine, Helux-3316 were...
Article
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Photoactive coatings of sol-gel ZnO suspensions were electrosprayed on glass substrates to produce self-cleaning antimicrobial functionalized surfaces. ZnO-functionalized materials exhibited a uniform external surface consisting of a pattern of microspheres with diameters in the 100–300 nm range. Electrospray allowed surface densities up to 0.30 mg...
Article
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Nowadays, nanomaterials are extensively used worldwide in many different fields and their potentially serious effects in aquatic ecosystems have become a global concern. In this study, we have investigated the effect of two nanometric manufactured polymers, high-generation cationic G5 and G7 poly(amidoamine) dendrimers, in a prokaryotic primary pro...
Chapter
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La desinfección del agua es la operación por la cual se desactivan o eliminan los posibles patógenos que pueda contener. La desactivación de los microorganismos supone la supresión de su capacidad de reproducción y crecimiento en la extensión suficiente para cumplir con los criterios sanitarios de calidad establecidos por la legislación vigente (En...
Chapter
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El ozono (O3) es una forma alotrópica del oxígeno cuya molécula consta de tres átomos en lugar de los dos del oxígeno diatómico. Se forma en la estratosfera por acción de la radiación solar y en la práctica industrial por generadores de descarga en corona o mediante radiación ultravioleta a partir de aire, aire enriquecido u oxígeno. Se trata de un...
Article
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Biofouling can cause serious problems in reverse osmosis membranes (RO membranes) reducing module performance and their useful life. The main goal of this study was to gain insight into microbial colonization of used RO membranes with different feed water and inorganic fouling. We studied three RO membranes. Two were collected from the same desalin...
Article
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We prepared composite ultrafiltration membranes by directly electrospinning a top layer of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) onto polysulfone (PSU). The electrospun layer was cross-linked by heat curing, and the previous irradiation of the PSU support allowed creating stable composites that did not detach under cross-flow opera...
Article
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The antimicrobial polypeptide ε-poly(l-lysine) (ε-PL) was electrostatically incorporated to poly(acrylic acid) (PAA)/poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) electrospun nanofibers. ε-PL loading and distribution was assessed by infrared spectra, ζ-potential measurements and the primary amino reactive dye fluorescamine. Functionalized fibers with 485 ± 140 nm diam...
Article
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The aim of this work was to immobilize antimicrobial peptides onto a fibrous scaffold to create functional wound dressings. The scaffold was produced by electrospinning from a mixture of the water soluble polymers poly(acrylic acid) and poly(vinyl alcohol) and subsequently heat cured at 140 °C to produce a stable material with fibre diameter below...
Article
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The toxic action of graphene oxide (GO) and the micropollutants contained in a biologically-treated wastewater were studied alone and in combination. For the toxicity assays, the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was used and the toxic mechanism was assessed by studying changes in esterase activity, cytoplasmic membrane potential, me...
Article
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This work describes the construction of two novel self-luminescent bioreporter strains of the cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. PCC 7120 by fusing the promoter region of the sodA and sodB genes (encoding the superoxide dismutases MnSod and FeSod, respectively) to luxCDABE from Photorhabdus luminescens aimed at detecting pollutants that generate reactive ox...
Article
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The aim of this work was to use electrospray to create photocatalytic TiO2 coatings and to study their antibacterial and antibiofilm capacity. The electrospray used a sol of TiO2 anatase nanoparticles prepared by a sol-gel method, which formed stable suspensions of positively charged particles (zeta-potential +22.3 ± 3.7 mV). The electrospray depos...
Article
Full-text available
Biofouling can cause serious problems in reverse osmosis membranes (RO membranes) reducing module performance and their useful life. The main goal of this study was to gain insight into microbial colonization of used RO membranes with different feed water and inorganic fouling. We studied three RO membranes. Two were collected from the same desalin...
Article
Full-text available
This work reports the preparation of composite electrospun membranes combining antimicrobial action with the capacity of retaining low-molecular weight non-polar pollutants. The membranes were electrospun blends of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) stabilized using heat curing. The membranes were functionalized by grafting amino-...
Article
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In the present study, the biocidal activity of three different metal organic frameworks (MOFs) based on Co (Co-SIM1), Zn (Zn-SIM1) and Ag (Ag-TAZ) has been evaluated towards one green alga and two cyanobacteria. These organisms are present in fresh- and seawater and take part in the early stages of the biofouling process. The biocidal activity of t...
Article
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In this work, a boronic acid copolymer, poly(4-vinylphenylboronic acid-co-2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate-co-n-butyl methacrylate) (pVDB) was designed for the rapid detection of bacteria based on reversible boronate ester formation with the diol-rich saccharide moieties found on bacterial membranes. Electrospun nanofibre membranes were prepared...
Article
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In this study, we used electrospinning to produce core-shell nanofibers of poly(lactic acid) as core and polyacrylonitrile/ cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) or polyacrylonitrile/chitin nanocrystals (ChNC) as shell. Electrospun materials prepared at different nanocrystal concentrations were tested and assayed as microfiltration membranes. The coaxial me...