In this work, the performance of an innovative magnetic responsive biocatalytic membrane reactor (BMRSP) has been investigated under various operational parameters. In particular, feed concentrations, flow rates across the bed, temperature and amount of biocatalytic bead were varied to probe the flow-dependent transport and kinetic properties of the reaction and the subsequent hydrolytic performance of the BMRSP. The rate of fouling for the BMRSP was always lower than a corresponding control system.
For a given enzymatic concentration, a constant foulant hydrolyzing capacity is identified. At 3 g/m2 pectinase containing bionanocomposites, the BMRSP hydrolytic efficiency was 1.5 g/m2 h. This efficiency was further increased by increasing the amount of bionanocomposites per membrane area. This further allowed the BMRSP to hydrolyze higher loads of foulants while keeping a low if not zero increase in TMP over time at constant flux. Identification of an optimal operating condition laid the platform for continuous operation of the BMRSP over 200 h, without visible transmembrane pressure drift while maintaining constant flux. Product assay in the permeate gave constant value in the entire duration, i.e., no enzymatic activity decay owing to stable enzyme immobilization and no leakage through the pores of the membrane owing to the synergistic magnetic interaction between the magnetic membrane and magnetic bionanocomposites.
The obtained stability over a broad range of operational parameters and sustainable performance over long period gives a high prospect to the newly developed BMRSP to be utilized in continuous biocatalysis and separation, thereby significantly improved process efficiency. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.