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Adsorption of Pharmaceuticals from Water and Wastewater Using Nonconventional Low-Cost Materials: A Review

de Andrade, Júlia R., Oliveira, Maria F., da Silva, Meuris G. C., Vieira, Melissa G. A.
Industrial & engineering chemistry process design and development 2018 v.57 no.9 pp. 3103-3127
activated carbon, adsorbents, adsorption, biochar, chitosan, coordination polymers, drugs, energy, industrial wastes, process design, thermodynamics, wastewater, water pollution
Pharmaceuticals are environmental contaminants that have been widely detected in aquatic media. In this review, the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment, its major causes, and implications along with effective procedures for their removal from contaminated water have been studied. Adsorption stands out as a promising treatment method, since it offers advantages such as lower energy consumption and simpler operation conditions in comparison to other tertiary treatments. Although commercial activated carbon is extensively studied as an adsorbent of pharmaceuticals, its large-scale application is limited by the high costs. Therefore, different nonconventional low-cost materials have been investigated and adsorbents based on clays, biochars, chitosan, agricultural and industrial wastes, and metal–organic frameworks have been addressed in many studies for pharmaceuticals uptake from water and wastewater. This article reviews key publications on this subject, discussing adsorption performance in terms of kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, continuous fixed-bed process, regeneration capability, and historical, economical, and practical aspects.