Enzyme immobilization on commercial superparamagnetic nanoparticles (NPSP) was performed using covalent bonding. The biofunctionalized NPSP was then immobilized on the surface of the membrane using an external magnetic field to form a magneto-responsive biocatalytic membrane reactor (BMRSP). The magnetically formed smart nanolayer can be easily re-dispersed and recovered from the membrane when the enzyme is deactivated or whenever cleaning is required due to substrate over-accumulation.
The system was used to hydrolyze pectin contained in different streams. Results are supported with complementary data from hydrodynamic, kinetic and morphological characterization in a flow-through reactive filtration. Wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (WDS) elemental mapping revealed that the NPSP are uniformly dispersed on the surface of the membrane forming a thin biocatalytic layer. Both results of hydrodynamic studies and SEM micrographs of the membrane with the enzyme layer under various operating conditions, show that the immobilized enzyme effectively reduced membrane-foulant interaction. Comparison of filtration data using this commercial NPSP reveals good agreement with our previously used home-made NPSP. This implies that the scaling-up and commercialization of the developed BMRSP can be straightforward. © 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry