Antimicrobial PVK: SWNT nanocomposite coated membrane for water purification: Performance and toxicity testing

Farid Ahmed, Catherine M. Santos, Joey Mangadlao, Rigoberto Advincula, Debora F. Rodrigues*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


This study demonstrated that coated nitrocellulose membranes with a nanocomposite containing 97% (wt%) of polyvinyl- N-carbazole (PVK) and 3% (wt%) of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) (97:3wt% ratio PVK:SWNT) achieve similar or improved removal of bacteria when compared with 100% SWNTs coated membranes. Membranes coated with the nanocomposite exhibited significant antimicrobial activity toward Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (~80-90%); and presented a virus removal efficiency of ~2.5 logs. Bacterial cell membrane damage was considered a possible mechanism of cellular inactivation since higher efflux of intracellular material (Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA) was quantified in the filtrate of PVK-SWNT and SWNT membranes than in the filtrate of control membranes. To evaluate possible application of these membrane filters for drinking water treatment, toxicity of PVK-SWNT was tested against fibroblast cells. The results demonstrated that PVK-SWNT was non toxic to fibroblast cells as opposed to pure SWNT (100%). These results suggest that it is possible to synthesize antimicrobial nitrocellulose membranes coated with SWNT based nanocomposites for drinking water treatment. Furthermore, membrane filters coated with the nanocomposite PVK-SWNT (97:3wt% ratio PVK:SWNT) will produce more suitable coated membranes for drinking water than pure SWNTs coated membranes (100%), since the reduced load of SWNT in the nanocomposite will reduce the use of costly and toxic SWNT nanomaterial on the membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3966-3975
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • Cytotoxicty
  • DNA
  • Nanocomposite
  • Nitrocellulose membrane
  • Single-walled carbon nanotubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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