Nanomaterials in membrane bioreactors: Recent progresses, challenges, and potentials

Vahid Vatanpour*, Meltem Ağtaş, Amr Mustafa Abdelrahman, Mustafa Evren Erşahin, Hale Ozgun, Ismail Koyuncu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The use of nanomaterials (NMs) in the fabrication and modification of membranes as well as the coupling of nanomaterial-based processes with membrane processes have been attracted many researchers today. The NMs due to a wide range of types, different chemistry, the possibility of various kinds of functionality, different properties like antibacterial activity, hydrophilicity, and large surface area were applied to enhance the membrane properties. In the membrane bioreactors (MBRs) as a highly successful process of membrane technology in wastewater treatment, the NMs have been applied for improving the efficiency of MBR process. This review assessed the application of NMs both as the modifiers of membrane and as the effective part of hybrid techniques with MBR system for wastewater treatment. The efficiency of NMs blended membranes in the MBR process has been reviewed in terms of antifouling and antibacterial improvement and removal performance of the pollutants. Novel kinds of NMs were recognized and discussed based on their properties and advantages. The NMs-based photocatalytic and electrochemical processes integrated with MBR were reviewed with their benefits and drawbacks. In addition, the effect of the presence of mobilized NPs in the sludge on MBR performance was surveyed. As a result of this review, it can be concluded that nanomaterials generally improve MBR performance. The high flux and antifouling properties can be obtained by adding nanomaterials with hydrophilic and antibacterial properties to the membrane, and further studies are required for photocatalytic NMs applications. In addition, this review shows that the low amounts of NMs in the membrane structure could have an effective influence on the MBR process. Besides, since many studies in the literature are carried out at the laboratory scale, it is thought that pilot and real-scale studies should be carried out to obtain more reliable data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134930
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


The authors acknowledge the Istanbul Technical University (ITU, Turkey) and Kharazmi University (KHU, Iran) for all support provided.

FundersFunder number
Kharazmi University
Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi


    • Antifouling
    • Membrane bioreactors
    • Nanocomposites
    • Nanomaterials
    • Wastewater treatment


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