Food and Bioprocess Technology

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1012–1026 | Cite as

Fundamental Understanding of Fouling Mechanisms During Microfiltration of Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia) Extract and Their Dependence on Operating Conditions

  • Amit Jain
  • Sourav Sengupta
  • Sirshendu DeEmail author
Original Paper


Microfiltration of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) extract using hollow fiber membrane module was carried out in the present study. To identify the dominant fouling mechanism, flux decline behavior was examined using Field model. At lower transmembrane pressure, pore blocking mechanism was found to be more important, while cake filtration was dominant at higher pressure. Higher cross flow rate reduced filtration constant indicating slower rate of membrane fouling. Additionally, surface and particle size analyses were undertaken to validate the findings of modeling. Scanning electron microscope analysis clearly showed prevalence of pore blocking mechanism at lower transmembrane pressure drop, whereas cake filtration was dominant fouling mechanism at higher pressure. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis supported the role of cake layer as a secondary membrane retaining some amount of polyphenols. Analysis of flux decline ratio also confirmed that for transmembrane pressure of 104 kPa and beyond, cake layer became compact, and hence, increase in cross flow rate was unable to influence the improvement of permeate flux. The current study provides an insight into the fouling mechanism involved in scaling up of clarification of bitter gourd extract for successful processing of this medicinal herb.


Microfiltration Bitter gourd Field model Fouling mechanism Surface morphology Cake filtration 



This work is partially supported by a grant from Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur under the scheme no. IIT/SRIC/CHE/SMU/2014-15/40, dated 17-04-2014.


A surface area of membrane module (m2)

CFR cross flow rate (L/h)

GAE gallic acid equivalent

J permeate flux at time t (L/m2 h)

J cal,i simulated value of flux at time t (L/m2 h)

J exp,i experimental value of flux at time t (L/m2 h)

J* steady-state permeate flux (L/m2 h)

J w pure water flux (L/m2 h)

J0 initial permeate flux (L/m2 h)

k filtration constant

L p permeability of the membrane (m/Pa s)

PAN polyacrylonitrile

ΔP transmembrane pressure (Pa)

R2 coefficient of determination

s sum of square of relative error

t time (h)

Δt sampling time (h)

TMP transmembrane pressure (Pa)

TS total solids (g/100 mL)

TSS total soluble sugar (0Brix)

V volume of permeate collected (L)

Electronic supplementary material

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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