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Physicochemical regeneration of high silica zeolite Y used to clean-up water polluted with sulfonamide antibiotics

Braschi, I., Blasioli, S., Buscaroli, E., Montecchio, D., Martucci, A.
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2016 v.43 pp. 302-312
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, adsorption, antibiotic resistance, antibiotics, differential thermal analysis, freshwater, heat treatment, photolysis, silica, solvents, sulfonamides, thermogravimetry, zeolites
High silica zeolite Y has been positively evaluated to clean-up water polluted with sulfonamides, an antibiotic family which is known to be involved in the antibiotic resistance evolution. To define possible strategies for the exhausted zeolite regeneration, the efficacy of some chemico-physical treatments on the zeolite loaded with four different sulfonamides was evaluated. The evolution of photolysis, Fenton-like reaction, thermal treatments, and solvent extractions and the occurrence in the zeolite pores of organic residues eventually entrapped was elucidated by a combined thermogravimetric (TGA–DTA), diffractometric (XRPD), and spectroscopic (FT-IR) approach. The chemical processes were not able to remove the organic guest from zeolite pores and a limited transformation on embedded molecules was observed. On the contrary, both thermal treatment and solvent extraction succeeded in the regeneration of the zeolite loaded from deionized and natural fresh water. The recyclability of regenerated zeolite was evaluated over several adsorption/regeneration cycles, due to the treatment efficacy and its stability as well as the ability to regain the structural features of the unloaded material.