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Silica-quaternary ammonium “Fixed-Quat” nanofilm coated fiberglass mesh for water disinfection and harmful algal blooms control

Diaz, Daniela, Church, Jared, Young, Mikaeel, Kim, Keug Tae, Park, Jungsu, Hwang, Yun Bin, Santra, Swadeshmukul, Lee, Woo Hyoung
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.82 pp. 213-224
Escherichia coli, Microcystis aeruginosa, algal blooms, antimicrobial properties, byproducts, cationic surfactants, disinfection, fiberglass, microalgae, microorganisms, nanosheets, pollution load, quaternary ammonium compounds, surface water, toxicity
Intensification of pollution loading worldwide has promoted an escalation of different types of disease-causing microorganisms, such as harmful algal blooms (HABs), instigating detrimental impacts on the quality of receiving surface waters. Formation of unwanted disinfection by-products (DBPs) resulting from conventional disinfection technologies reveals the need for the development of new sustainable alternatives. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs) are cationic surfactants widely known for their effective biocidal properties at the ppm level. In this study, a novel silica-based antimicrobial nanofilm was developed using a composite of silica-modified QAC (Fixed-Quat) and applied to a fiberglass mesh as an active surface via sol–gel technique. The synthesized Fixed-Quat nanocoating was found to be effective against E. coli with an inactivation rate of 1.3 × 10−3 log reduction/cm min. The Fixed-Quat coated fiberglass mesh also demonstrated successful control of Microcystis aeruginosa with more than 99% inactivation after 10 hr of exposure. The developed antimicrobial mesh was also evaluated with wild-type microalgal species collected in a water body experiencing HABs, obtaining a 97% removal efficiency. Overall, the silica-functionalized Fixed-Quat nanocoating showed promising antimicrobial properties for water disinfection and HABs control, while decreasing concerns related to DBPs formation and the possible release of toxic nanomaterials into the environment.