Control of fouling is a critical issue to increase the competitiveness of ultrafiltration (UF) membranes for drinking water and wastewater treatments. Highly fouling resistant UF membranes synthesized by photo-graft copolymerization of a water soluble monomer, poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA), onto a polyethersulfone UF membrane have been evaluated with respect to the adsorptive as well as the ultrafiltration fouling. Protein, humic substance and polysaccharide solutions were used as the model for foulants occurring in the water sources for drinking water as well as in wastewater effluents. The results show that the modified membranes exhibited a much higher fouling resistance for all foulants than the unmodified membranes. Their combined high fouling resistance and high rejection suggests that the obtained modified membranes are very promising as a new generation of thin-layer composite low fouling UF membranes for drinking water and wastewater treatment applications.

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