Understanding virus adhesion to polymeric membranes:

Dr. Volodymr Tarabara, Michigan State University

20 September 2016 at 11:30

Location: BSB B136

Prevention of waterborne disease outbreaks relies on the efficient detection of pathogens in drinking and recreational water. Development of sample concentration technology that ensures fast and high recovery of pathogens from aquatic samples is crucial for reliable detection. EPA-approved method VIRADEL (VIRus ADsorption and Elution) is expensive, exhibits low and poorly reproducible recoveries for certain viruses such as adenoviruses. Crossflow ultrafiltration (UF) is an emerging alternative method of waterborne pathogen concentration. The membrane with an appropriate pore size can simultaneously concentrate a wide range of microbial pathogens without concentrating molecular toxins and low molecular weight qPCR inhibitors. To decrease virus adhesion to the membrane, UF membranes are coated with calf serum. In contrast to VIRADEL, UF technique exhibits significantly higher recovery for some viruses. However, overnight deposition of calf serum on UF membranes is a poorly controlled and time consuming process.

This presentation will describe recent work in my research group on the design of antiadhesive, sacrificial membrane surface coatings for virus recovery and detection. Such films can be prepared by coating an ultrafiltration membrane with a polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) using layer-by-layer adsorption of polycations and polyanions. Main advantages of the proposed approach are (1) fast and reproducible preparation of membranes (less than 1 hour), (2) highly controllable properties resulting in a membrane surface that resists virus adhesion, and (3) optional dissolution of coatings to recover any virus that is adsorbed on the film. Bacteriophage P22 and human adenovirus 40 will serve as examples to illustrate PEM performance in virus recovery from relatively simple waters (DI water, tap water) as well as from complex water matrices (wastewater treatment plant effluent, lake water). The recovery results are interpreted in terms of physicochemical interactions of virions during sample concentration. It will be shown that for complex waters, the eluent composition is the most important factor for achieving high virion recovery.


Dr. Tarabara joined MSU and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2004 after completing his graduate studies at Rice University. His research is in the area of membrane separations. Current projects are on virus removal and inactivation, separation of emulsions, and membrane reactors. He is a recipient of 2014 Fulbright U.S. Scholar fellowship to the Republic of Georgia and 2011 Paul L. Busch Award from Water Environment Research Foundation. Dr. Tarabara co-edited the three volume Encyclopedia of Membrane Science and Technology that was published by Wiley in 2013. He is a member of AEESP, IWA, NAMS, and ASCE where he is serving as an Associate Editor of ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering. At MSU, he teaches courses on environmental transport and unit processes.


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