Use of a ceramic membrane to improve the performance of two-separate-phase biocatalytic membrane reactor

Giuseppe Ranieri, Rosalinda Mazzei, Zhentao Wu, Kang Li, Lidietta Giorno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biocatalytic membrane reactors (BMR) combining reaction and separation within the same unit have many advantages over conventional reactor designs. Ceramic membranes are an attractive alternative to polymeric membranes in membrane biotechnology due to their high chemical, thermal and mechanical resistance. Another important use is their potential application in a biphasic membrane system, where support solvent resistance is highly needed. In this work, the preparation of asymmetric ceramic hollow fibre membranes and their use in a two-separate-phase biocatalytic membrane reactor will be described. The asymmetric ceramic hollow fibre membranes were prepared using a combined phase inversion and sintering technique. The prepared fibres were then used as support for lipase covalent immobilization in order to develop a two-separate-phase biocatalytic membrane reactor. A functionalization method was proposed in order to increase the density of the reactive hydroxyl groups on the surface of ceramic membranes, which were then amino-activated and treated with a crosslinker. The performance and the stability of the immobilized lipase were investigated as a function of the amount of the immobilized biocatalytst. Results showed that it is possible to immobilize lipase on a ceramic membrane without altering its catalytic performance (initial residual specific activity 93%), which remains constant after 6 reaction cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number345
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (

Funding: project PON01_01545, Olio più, within the framework PON Ricerca e Competitività 2007–2013.


  • Biocatalytic membrane
  • Ceramic biocatalytic membrane
  • Immobilized lipase
  • Two-separate-phase biocatalytic membrane reactor


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