Using Cross-Sectioning and Embedding Techniques to Quantify Proteins and Polysaccharides in a Biologically Fouled Crossflow Membrane
Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy Techniques
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering Honors Theses; 2018
Some water filtration systems may use membranes to remove particulates, colloids, and ions. However, biofouling, deposition and growth of biomass on membrane surfaces, severely lowers the efficiency of membrane systems. Techniques such as ultrasonic cleaning have been tested to reverse biofouling. In order to understand the mechanisms underpinning membrane cleaning, fouled membrane structural components such as proteins and polysaccharides have been visualized using fluorescent light microscopy. However, the effectiveness of this imaging is reduced for thick biofilms due to attenuation of the light signal caused by biomass. This research applied up-to-date histological methods to image thick biofilms on fouled membranes. This new method used light microscopy to image cross-sectioned and epoxy-embedded stabilized biofilms. Embedding the membrane in an epoxy stabilized it during sectioning to reduce changes to the biofilm and to facilitate sectioning. Application of these new methods resulted in increased depth visualization of proteins and polysaccharides with less attenuation for cross-sectioned and embedded biofouled membranes than current methods. Development of this technique will facilitate future research into antifouling technology by allowing researchers to collect higher-quality data on the effects of cleaning.
Academic Major: Chemical Engineering
The Ohio State University College of Engineering Undergraduate Research Scholarship
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