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Activated carbon adsorption of quinolone antibiotics in water: Performance, mechanism, and modeling

Fu, Hao, Li, Xuebing, Wang, Jun, Lin, Pengfei, Chen, Chao, Zhang, Xiaojian, Suffet, I.H. (Mel)
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2017 v.56 pp. 145-152
activated carbon, adsorption, antibiotics, aquatic environment, ciprofloxacin, drinking water, electrostatic interactions, enrofloxacin, environmental health, equations, hydrophobic bonding, ionization, models, pH, prediction, sorption isotherms, water treatment
The extensive use of antibiotics has led to their presence in the aquatic environment, and introduces potential impacts on human and ecological health. The capability of powdered activated carbon (PAC) to remove six frequently used quinolone (QN) antibiotics during water treatment was evaluated to improve drinking water safety. The kinetics of QN adsorption by PAC was best described by a pseudo second-order equation, and the adsorption capacity was well described by the Freundlich isotherm equation. Isotherms measured at different pH showed that hydrophobic interaction, electrostatic interaction, and π–π dispersion force were the main mechanisms for adsorption of QNs by PAC. A pH-dependent isotherm model based on the Freundlich equation was developed to predict the adsorption capacity of QNs by PAC at different pH values. This model had excellent prediction capabilities under different laboratory scenarios. Small relative standard derivations (RSDs), i.e., 0.59%–0.92% for ciprofloxacin and 0.09%–3.89% for enrofloxacin, were observed for equilibrium concentrations above the 0.3mg/L level. The RSDs increased to 11.9% for ciprofloxacin and 32.1% for enrofloxacin at μg/L equilibrium levels, which is still acceptable. This model could be applied to predict the adsorption of other chemicals having different ionized forms.