Natural clay as a sorbent to remove pharmaceutical micropollutants from wastewater

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Worldwide, the aquatic environment is contaminated by micro-pollutants, such as ingredients of personal care products, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. This contamination is one of the major environmental issues of global concern. Adsorption is one of approach, which has been most extensively discussed within recent years for the reduction of the input of micro-pollutants into the environment. In the present study, the natural clay classified as Na-montmorillonite, was characterized and tested for its potential to remove four model compounds representing different polarity and ionizability: i) diatrizoic acid (DAT), ii) iopamidol (IOP), iii) metformin (MTF), and iv) carbamazepine (CBZ). The adsorption efficiency of clay was evaluated by initial compound concentration, effect of pH, contact time and temperature. The results indicated that clay was able to remove the pharmaceuticals from aqueous medium with an efficiency of 70% for CBZ and MTF. In contrast, clay showed a lower removal of 30% for DAT and no removal for IOP. The results indicate that clay could rapidly and efficiently reduce the concentration of CBZ and MTF, which could provide a solution to remove some substances, without undesirable by-product generation. However, this study clearly demonstrated that removal rates strongly depend on the compound. Albeit chemical structure may play a role for the different degree of removal, this study could not completely explain the sorption mechanism between sorbent-sorbate interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127213
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2020

Bibliographical note

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    Research areas

  • Chemistry
  • Micro-pollutants, Montmorillonite, Natural adsorbent, Removal capacity, Water treatment, Clay, Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis, Temperature, Waste Water, Carbamazepine, Adsorption, Waste Disposal, Fluid/methods, Bentonite/chemistry, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration