Membrane cuts separations costs.University of Arkansas The University of Arkansas strives to be known as a "nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world." The school recently completed its "Campaign for the 21st Century," in which the university raised more than $1 billion for the school, used researchers (Department of Biochemical Engineering, 3202 Bell Engineering Center, Fayetteville, AR 72701) have developed a membrane that can reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of filtration, a critical process that is used in industries ranging from foods to pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals. Not only is this protein-based membrane less expensive to produce than traditional polymer membranes, it is a "green" technology--created from renewable resources.
Researchers created the membrane from whey protein isolate (WPI WPI - Worcester Polytechnic Institute ) that is best suited for microfiltration and ultrafiltration ultrafiltration /ul·tra·fil·tra·tion/ (ul?trah-fil-tra´shun) filtration through a filter capable of removing very minute (ultramicroscopic) particles.
n. processes, in which all but very tiny particles are filtered out of a liquid. For instance, when milk is processed, an ultrafilter is used to remove all of the particles of butterfat butterfat
globules in the milk of all species. It can be separated to make butter. The nutritional value and the price of milk are judged on, among other things, the butterfat content of the milk. and chunks of protein before the milk is pasteurized pas·teur·ize
tr.v. pas·teur·ized, pas·teur·iz·ing, pas·teur·iz·es
To subject (a beverage or other food) to pasteurization.
pas . Interestingly, it is this whey protein that is used in making the WPI membrane.
This is a novel approach to membrane fabrication and, more importantly, the WPI membrane is highly compatible for a number of biomedical applications, according to scientists. Polymeric membranes have been used for a long time, but there is a definite need for more biocompatible biocompatible /bio·com·pat·i·ble/ (-kom-pat´i-b'l) being harmonious with life; not having toxic or injurious effects on biological function. membrane materials for biomedical applications and other separations.
The WPI membrane is also highly resistant to solvents found in foods and pharmaceuticals. Because of this, it can be used to refine vegetable oils and other solvent-intensive processes. A patent is pending on the membrane.
Scientists first developed the WPI membrane while trying to improve the biocompatibility biocompatibility
the quality of not having toxic or injurious effects on biological systems.
biocompatibility 1. The extent to which a foreign, usually implanted, material elicits an immune or other response in a recipient 2. of membranes. Biocompatibility is an issue for membranes in medical applications because incompatible polymeric membranes can cause blood clots and other serious issues. Investigators are working on specific applications for the membrane.
Further information. Bob Beitle; phone: 501-575-7566; fax: 501-575-7926; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.