Polysulfone ultrafiltration membrane was modified by novel nanoporous SBA-16-COOH during the membrane preparation via the phase inversion. The pure water flux and bovine serum albumin (BSA, as the foulant) flux were measured at 2 bar and the membranes' antifouling behavior were analyzed. The membranes showed higher water flux after SBA-16-COOH addition up to 2 wt% and after that the flux slightly decreased which is attributed to the aggregation of SBA-16-COOH particles at the higher concentrations. SBA-16-COOH addition improved the surface hydrophilicity and led to elongated finger-like pores within the membranes cross section structure. The water flux after BSA flux was still higher than the one before BSA, thereby SBA-16-COOH addition resulted in better antifouling properties. In terms of BSA rejection, the nanocomposite SBA-16-COOH-based membranes outperform the pristine PSf membrane with rejection values up to 98.9%. The water contact angle confirmed the enhanced hydrophilicity of the membranes' surface due to COOH functional groups of the nanomaterials which led to a higher permeability and an enhanced fouling resistance. (C) 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.