Processes such as chromatographic separation and nanofiltration can remove low molecular weight sugars from liquid mixtures of oligosaccharides. As an alternative for the separation of such liquid mixtures, we studied mass diffusion separation of such sugars in a microfluidic device with incorporated nanofiltration membranes. This separation method is based on differences between diffusivities of components and does not require high transmembrane pressures. The effects of channel depth and flow rate were studied in experiments. The key parameters selectivity and rejection increased with increasing channel depth due to increased external mass transfer limitations. Among the studied membranes, the obtained selectivities and rejections correlated to the specified retention values by the manufacturers. Compared to more conventional nanofiltration where high pressure forces solutes through membranes, we obtained corresponding selectivities and fluxes of only an order of magnitude smaller. Simulated results indicated that with optimized microchannel and membrane dimensions, the presented separation process can compete with currently available separation technologies.
- human colonic microbiota
- dietary modulation
Kolfschoten, R. C., Janssen, A. E. M., & Boom, R. M. (2011). Mass diffusion-based separation of sugars in a microfluidic contactor with nanofiltration membranes. Journal of Separation Science, 34(11), 1338-1346. https://doi.org/10.1002/jssc.201100018