Publications by authors named "Milena Ginic-Markovic"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A Novel Fabrication Approach for Multifunctional Graphene-based Thin Film Nano-composite Membranes with Enhanced Desalination and Antibacterial Characteristics.

Sci Rep 2017 08 8;7(1):7490. Epub 2017 Aug 8.

Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, 5095, Australia.

A practical fabrication technique is presented to tackle the trade-off between the water flux and salt rejection of thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) membranes through controlled creation of a thinner active selective polyamide (PA) layer. The new thin film nano-composite (TFNC) RO membranes were synthesized with multifunctional poly tannic acid-functionalized graphene oxide nanosheets (pTA-f-GO) embedded in its PA thin active layer, which is produced through interfacial polymerization. The incorporation of pTA-f-GOL into the fabricated TFNC membranes resulted in a thinner PA layer with lower roughness and higher hydrophilicity compared to pristine membrane. These properties enhanced both the membrane water flux (improved by 40%) and salt rejection (increased by 8%) of the TFNC membrane. Furthermore, the incorporation of biocidal pTA-f-GO nanosheets into the PA active layer contributed to improving the antibacterial properties by 80%, compared to pristine membrane. The fabrication of the pTA-f-GO nanosheets embedded in the PA layer presented in this study is a very practical, scalable and generic process that can potentially be applied in different types of separation membranes resulting in less energy consumption, increased cost-efficiency and improved performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07531-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548761PMC
August 2017

Advanced Silicon Chemistry in Australia: Forming Strong Links with Asia.

Chem Asian J 2017 Jun 31;12(11):1123-1152. Epub 2017 May 31.

Associate (Research & Development: Polymer Chemistry), COOE Pty Ltd., 46/40 W Thebarton Rd, Thebarton, South Australia, 5031, Australia.

This paper details Australian commercial and academic silicon research. Areas of interest include silicon metal, polysiloxane polymers, copolymers, cyclics, emulsions, microemulsions, silanes, silane coupling agents, sol-gel chemistry and water-treatments, porous silicon, polysiloxane degradation, silicon hydrogel contact lenses, silanolate synthesis, siloxane interfacial polymerisation, hydrosilylation, polysiloxane electrolytes for lithium ion batteries, silanes for PBX materials, octafunctionalized polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS), POSS hybrids, sol-gel hydrogenation catalysts, silane modification of silica, sol-gel energy storage, silicate grout stabilisation, GeoPolymer concretes, aerogel insulating foams, "Phaco-Ersatz" Accommodating Gel-Intraocular Lens technologies. Strong collaborative opportunities, in silicon, with Asia, exist with organisations such as: 1) The Asian Silicon Society and 2) The Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) Indonesia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asia.201700598DOI Listing
June 2017

Single-Step Assembly of Multifunctional Poly(tannic acid)-Graphene Oxide Coating To Reduce Biofouling of Forward Osmosis Membranes.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2016 Jul 29;8(27):17519-28. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia , Adelaide, South Australia 5095, Australia.

Graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets have antibacterial properties that have been exploited as a biocidal agent used on desalination membrane surfaces in recent research. Nonetheless, improved strategies for efficient and stable attachment of GO nanosheets onto the membrane surface are still required for this idea to be commercially viable. To address this challenge, we adopted a novel, single-step surface modification approach using tannic acid cross-linked with polyethylene imine as a versatile platform to immobilize GO nanosheets to the surface of polyamide thin film composite forward osmosis (FO) membranes. An experimental design based on Taguchi's statistical method was applied to optimize the FO processing conditions in terms of water and reverse solute fluxes. Modified membranes were analyzed using water contact angle, adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence, total organic carbon, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ζ potential, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. These results show that membranes were modified with a nanoscale (<10 nm), smooth, hydrophilic coating that, compared to pristine membranes, improved filtration and significantly mitigated biofouling by 33% due to its extraordinary, synergistic antibacterial properties (99.9%).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.6b03719DOI Listing
July 2016

Physical characterization and in silico modeling of inulin polymer conformation during vaccine adjuvant particle formation.

Carbohydr Polym 2016 Jun 29;143:108-15. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Vaxine Pty Ltd, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia; Department of Endocrinology, Flinders Medical Centre/Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia. Electronic address:

This study combined physical data from synchrotron SAXS, FTIR and microscopy with in-silico molecular structure predictions and mathematical modeling to examine inulin adjuvant particle formation and structure. The results show that inulin polymer chains adopt swollen random coil in solution. As precipitation occurs from solution, interactions between the glucose end group of one chain and a fructose group of an adjacent chain help drive organized assembly, initially forming inulin ribbons with helical organization of the chains orthogonal to the long-axis of the ribbon. Subsequent aggregation of the ribbons results in the layered semicrystalline particles previously shown to act as potent vaccine adjuvants. γ-Inulin adjuvant particles consist of crystalline layers 8.5 nm thick comprising helically organized inulin chains orthogonal to the plane of the layer. These crystalline layers alternate with amorphous layers 2.4 nm thick, to give overall particle crystallinity of 78%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2016.01.062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4834147PMC
June 2016

Fine-Tuning the Surface of Forward Osmosis Membranes via Grafting Graphene Oxide: Performance Patterns and Biofouling Propensity.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2015 Aug 6;7(32):18004-16. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

⊥Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5095, Australia.

Graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets were attached to the polyamide selective layer of thin film composite (TFC) forward osmosis (FO) membranes through a poly L-Lysine (PLL) intermediary using either layer-by-layer or hybrid (H) grafting strategies. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, zeta potential, and thermogravimetric analysis confirmed the successful attachment of GO/PLL, the surface modification enhancing both the hydrophilicity and smoothness of the membrane's surface demonstrated by water contact angle, atomic force microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The biofouling resistance of the FO membranes determined using an adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence test showed a 99% reduction in surviving bacteria for GO/PLL-H modified membranes compared to pristine membrane. This antibiofouling property of the GO/PLL-H modified membrane was reflected in reduced flux decline compared to all other samples when filtering brackish water under biofouling conditions. Further, the high density and tightly bound GO nanosheets using the hybrid modification reduced the reverse solute flux compared to the pristine, which reflects improved membrane selectivity. These results illustrate that the GO/PLL-H modification is a valuable addition to improve the performance of FO TFC membranes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.5b04818DOI Listing
August 2015

Inulin crystal initiation via a glucose-fructose cross-link of adjacent polymer chains: atomic force microscopy and static molecular modelling.

Carbohydr Polym 2015 Mar 23;117:964-972. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Vaxine Pty Ltd, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA, Australia 5042; Department of Endocrinology, Flinders Medical Centre/Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA, Australia, 5042. Electronic address:

Semi-crystalline microparticles of inulin (MPI) have clinical utility as potent human vaccine adjuvants but their relevant surface structure and crystal assembly remain undefined. We show inulin crystal surfaces to resemble multi-layered, discoid radial spherulites resulting from very rapid formation of complex tertiary structures, implying directed crystal initiation. Physical and in silico molecular modelling of unit cells confirm steric feasibility of initiation by hydrogen-bonded cross-linking of terminal glucose to a fructose of another chain, mimicking bonding in sucrose crystals. A strong, chelate-like dual H-bond is proposed to compel the known antiparallel alignment of inulin chains. Such cross-linking would require one extra fructose per chain in the native inulin crystal, as observed. Completion of five H-bonded internal ring-domains would 'lock in' each new 6-fructose structural unit of each antiparallel helix pair to create a new isoform. All known properties of inulin isoforms follow readily from these concepts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.10.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268547PMC
March 2015

Inulin isoforms differ by repeated additions of one crystal unit cell.

Carbohydr Polym 2014 Mar 31;103:392-7. Epub 2013 Dec 31.

Vaxine Pty Ltd, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia; Department of Endocrinology, Flinders Medical Centre/Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia. Electronic address:

Inulin isoforms, especially delta inulin, are important biologically as immune activators and clinically as vaccine adjuvants. In exploring action mechanisms, we previously found regular increments in thermal properties of the seven-member inulin isoform series that suggested regular additions of some energetic structural unit. Because the previous isolates carried additional longer chains that masked defining ranges, these were contrasted with new isoform isolates comprising only inulin chain lengths defining that isoform. The new series began with 19 fructose units per chain (alpha-1 inulin), increasing regularly by 6 fructose units per isoform. Thus the 'energetic unit' equates to 6 fructose residues per chain. All isoforms showed indistinguishable X-ray diffraction patterns that were also identical with known inulin crystals. We conclude that an 'energetic unit' equates to one helix turn of 6 fructose units per chain as found in one unit cell of the inulin crystal. Each isoform chain comprised progressively more helix turns plus one additional fructose and glucose residues per chain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.12.066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4051881PMC
March 2014

The polysaccharide inulin is characterized by an extensive series of periodic isoforms with varying biological actions.

Glycobiology 2013 Oct 12;23(10):1164-74. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Vaxine Pty Ltd, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.

In studying the molecular basis for the potent immune activity of previously described gamma and delta inulin particles and to assist in production of inulin adjuvants under Good Manufacturing Practice, we identified five new inulin isoforms, bringing the total to seven plus the amorphous form. These isoforms comprise the step-wise inulin developmental series amorphous → alpha-1 (AI-1) → alpha-2 (AI-2) → gamma (GI) → delta (DI) → zeta (ZI) → epsilon (EI) → omega (OI) in which each higher isoform can be made either by precipitating dissolved inulin or by direct conversion from its precursor, both cases using regularly increasing temperatures. At higher temperatures, the shorter inulin polymer chains are released from the particle and so the key difference between isoforms is that each higher isoform comprises longer polymer chains than its precursor. An increasing trend of degree of polymerization is confirmed by end-group analysis using (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Inulin isoforms were characterized by the critical temperatures of abrupt phase-shifts (solubilizations or precipitations) in water suspensions. Such (aqueous) "melting" or "freezing" points are diagnostic and occur in strikingly periodic steps reflecting quantal increases in noncovalent bonding strength and increments in average polymer lengths. The (dry) melting points as measured by modulated differential scanning calorimetry similarly increase in regular steps. We conclude that the isoforms differ in repeated increments of a precisely repeating structural element. Each isoform has a different spectrum of biological activities and we show the higher inulin isoforms to be more potent alternative complement pathway activators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/glycob/cwt053DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766280PMC
October 2013

Analysis of the hydrolysis of inulin using real time 1H NMR spectroscopy.

Carbohydr Res 2012 May 10;352:117-25. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide 5042, Australia.

The hydrolysis of various carbohydrates was investigated under acidic conditions in real time by (1)H NMR spectroscopy, with a focus on the polysaccharide inulin. Sucrose was used as a model compound to illustrate the applicability of this technique. The hydrolysis of sucrose was shown to follow pseudo first order kinetics and have an activation energy of 107.0 kJ mol(-1) (SD 1.7 kJ mol(-1)). Inulin, pullulan and glycogen also all followed pseudo first order kinetics, but had an initiation phase at least partially generated by the protonation of the glycosidic bonds. It was also demonstrated that polysaccharide chain length has an effect on the hydrolysis of inulin. For short chain inulin (DPn 18, SD 0.70) the activation energy calculated for the hydrolytic cleavage of glucose was similar to sucrose at 108.5 kJ mol(-1) (SD 0.60). For long chain inulin (DPn 30, SD 1.3) the activation energy for the hydrolytic cleavage of glucose was reduced to 80.5 kJ mol(-1) (SD 2.3 kJ mol(-1)). This anomaly has been attributed to varied conformations for the two different lengths of inulin chain in solution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carres.2012.03.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3324600PMC
May 2012

Observation of the keto tautomer of D-fructose in D(2)O using (1)H NMR spectroscopy.

Carbohydr Res 2012 Jan 12;347(1):136-41. Epub 2011 Nov 12.

School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide 5042, Australia.

D-Fructose was analysed by NMR spectroscopy and previously unidentified (1)H NMR resonances were assigned to the keto and α-pyranose tautomers. The full assignment of shifts for the various fructose tautomers enabled the use of (1)H NMR spectroscopy in studies of the mutarotation (5-25°C) and tautomeric composition at equilibrium (5-50°C). The mutarotation of β-pyranose to furanose tautomers in D(2)O at a concentration of 0.18 M was found to have an activation energy of 62.6 kJmol(-1). At tautomeric equilibrium (20°C in D(2)O) the distribution of the β-pyranose, β-furanose, α-furanose, α-pyranose and the keto tautomers was found to be 68.23%, 22.35%, 6.24%, 2.67% and 0.50%, respectively. This tautomeric composition was not significantly affected by varying concentrations between 0.089 and 0.36 M or acidification to pH 3. Upon equilibrating at 6 temperatures between 5 and 50°C there was a linear relationship between the change in concentration and temperature for all forms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carres.2011.11.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3254704PMC
January 2012

Variation in performance of surfactant loading and resulting nitrate removal among four selected natural zeolites.

J Hazard Mater 2010 Nov 22;183(1-3):616-21. Epub 2010 Jul 22.

School of the Environment, Flinders University, Sturt Road, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.

Surfactant modified zeolites (SMZs) have the capacity to target various types of water contaminants at relatively low cost and thus are being increasingly considered for use in improving water quality. It is important to know the surfactant loading performance of a zeolite before it is put into application. In this work we compare the loading capacity of a surfactant, hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (HDTMA-Br), onto four natural zeolites obtained from specific locations in the USA, Croatia, China, and Australia. The surfactant loading is examined using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. We then compare the resulting SMZs performance in removing nitrate from water. Results show that TGA is useful to determine the HDTMA loading capacity on natural zeolites. It is also useful to distinguish between a HDTMA bi-layer and a HDTMA mono-layer on the SMZ surface, which has not been previously reported in the literature. TGA results infer that HDTMA (bi-layer) loading decreases in the order of US zeolite>Croatian zeolite>Chinese zeolite>Australian zeolite. This order of loading explains variation in performance of nitrate removal between the four SMZs. The SMZs remove 8-18 times more nitrate than the raw zeolites. SMZs prepared from the selected US and Croatian zeolites were more efficient in nitrate removal than the two zeolites commercially obtained from Australia and China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.07.069DOI Listing
November 2010

Synthesis of Carbon Nanotube (CNT) Composite Membranes.

Membranes (Basel) 2010 Dec 27;1(1):37-47. Epub 2010 Dec 27.

Ian Wark Research Institute, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, Adelaide, SA 5095, Australia.

Carbon nanotubes are attractive approach for designing of new membranes for advanced molecular separation because of their unique transport properties and ability to mimic biological protein channels. In this work the synthetic approach for fabrication of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) composite membranes is presented. The method is based on growth of multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) using chemical vapour deposition (CVD) on the template of nanoporous alumina (PA) membranes. The influence of experimental conditions including carbon precursor, temperature, deposition time, and PA template on CNT growth process and quality of fabricated membranes was investigated. The synthesis of CNT/PA composites with controllable nanotube dimensions such as diameters (30-150 nm), and thickness (5-100 µm), was demonstrated. The chemical composition and morphological characteristics of fabricated CNT/PA composite membranes were investigated by various characterisation techniques including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Transport properties of prepared membranes were explored by diffusion of dye (Rose Bengal) used as model of hydrophilic transport molecule.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/membranes1010037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056580PMC
December 2010

Aligned silane-treated MWCNT/liquid crystal polymer films.

Nanotechnology 2008 Apr 25;19(17):175602. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Department of Materials Engineering, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3800, Australia.

We report on a method to preferentially align multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in a liquid crystalline matrix to form stable composite thin films. The liquid crystalline monomeric chains can be crosslinked to form acrylate bridges, thereby retaining the nanotube alignment. Further post-treatment by ozone etching of the composite films leads to an increase in bulk conductivity, leading to higher emission currents when examined under conducting scanning probe microscopy. The described methodology may facilitate device manufacture where electron emission from nanosized tips is important in the creation of new display devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0957-4484/19/17/175602DOI Listing
April 2008

Ethynylbenzene monolayers on gold: a metal-molecule binding motif derived from a hydrocarbon.

J Am Chem Soc 2007 Mar 1;129(12):3533-8. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Institute for Nanoscale Technology, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, New South Wales, 2007, Australia.

Exposure of a Au(111) surface to ethynylbenzene in solution leads to the formation of a bound monolayer. A chemisorption process occurs to give a stable layer consisting of oxygen-containing hydrocarbon species. Ethynylbenzene itself does not oxidize under the deposition conditions indicating that the gold surface facilitates the oxidation process. Calculations show that ethynylbenzene and its oxidation products phenylacetic acid and phenyloxirane have positive binding energies to the gold surface. 1,4-Diethynylbenzene also binds to Au(111) and anchors gold nanoparticles deposited from solution to form dense, semiregular arrays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja064297yDOI Listing
March 2007