Membrane Filtration 101: MCE Gridded Membrane Filters for Analytical and Research Applications

Membrane Solutions has prepared this quick guide on what you need to know about MCE Filter Membranes including its applications, advantages, and features to consider before your next purchase. Read on below for valuable insights on these widely used microbiological products.

What is an MCE Gridded Membrane Filter?

A mixed cellulose ester (MCE) membrane, also known as a gridded membrane, is designed to filter out microorganisms and particles in liquids by effectively blocking the passage of these. Since it is mainly used for filtering aqueous solutions, it is also called a water-based membrane. It is flammable so proper sealing is critical to prevent moisture and fire during storage. 

This microporous membrane is made of refined nitrocellulose and cellulose acetate, is hydrophilic, biologically inert, non-toxic, and suitable for hygienic applications. Its porous membrane filter material offers relatively uniform pore distribution with microporosity as high as 80% of the absolute pore size. Because of its high porosity, it offers a faster flow rate ratio.

It is ideal for use in colony counting or microbial counting, particle counting, microbial detection, and a wide range of applications in biology, medicine, and scientific research. Aside from helping clarify and purify aqueous solutions, it also plays an important role in filtering sterilized gas particles and bacteria, determining water pollution index, and analyzing particulates to name a few.

This gridded membrane comes in different colors, but with white and black being the most common. White mesh membranes are preferred for water/wastewater analysis and other microbiological tests while Black Mixed Cellulose Esters (MCEs) are best for automated colony counting applications. Gridded MCEs can assist with manual counting procedures and black MCE membranes can provide contrast between residue or cell colors and the filter during experiments.

What are the Advantages of Using an MCE Gridded Membrane Filter?

1. It is most suitable for microbial retention and growth, with microbial resurrection rate at >90%

2. Grid lines on the membrane present convenience especially when identifying and counting colonies. These grid lines also do not affect the growth of colonies.

3. Thanks to its single-piece aseptic packaging for direct use, you can skip the sterilization process and therefore save time. This kind of packaging also avoids instances of secondary pollution during operation.

4. MCEs are available in different color membrane and grid line combinations, making it suitable for various microorganism detection. Bacteria and coliforms in water can be detected with a black grid on white background, while the total number of molds and yeasts can be detected with a white grid on a black background.

5. Biologically inert and thermally stable.

6. The uniform microporous structure of the membrane increases flow rate.

How to Choose the Color of Your MCE Gridded Membrane Filters

MCE membrane filters are offered in many colors with white and black being two of the most popular ones. Your choice of membrane and grid line colors should depend on the composition of your microbial medium, such as whether your medium contains dyes to provide a clear contrast between the colonies and the membrane, making colony identification and enumeration easier.

Take note that your choice of membrane color is not affected by your microbial medium. Colony counts on filter membranes can be done either on traditional agar plates, on cellulose adsorption pads with liquid media, or dehydrated ready-to-use on the medium.

Membrane Solutions Mixed Cellulose Esters (MCE) Gridded Membrane Filters

Membrane Solutions supplies high quality Mixed Cellulose Ester (MCE) mesh membrane filters for microdialysis of DNA and proteins, particle collection and analysis, sterilizing filtration, fluid and air monitoring, bioassays, and more. Our MS MCE membranes are composed of cellulose acetate and nitrocellulose and are biologically inert, making them best-suited for analysis and research applications. Compared to pure nitrocellulose filters, these membrane filters feature a smoother and more uniform surface. The color contrast provided by the filter surface of these membranes not just facilitates particle detection but also minimizes eye fatigue.