Effect of solution properties, competing ligands, and complexing metal on sorption of tetracyclines on Al-based drinking water treatment residuals

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Department of Biological Sciences


In the current batch study, we investigated the effect of solution properties, competing ligands (phosphate (P(V)) and sulfate), and complexing metal (calcium (Ca2+)) on tetracycline (TTC) and oxytetracycline (OTC) sorption by Al-based drinking water treatment residuals (Al-WTR). The sorption behavior for both TTC and OTC on Al-WTR was pH dependent. The sorption in absence of competing ligands and complexing metal increased with increasing pH up to circum-neutral pH and then decreased at higher pH. The presence of P(V) when added simultaneously had a significant negative effect (p < 0.001) on the sorption of TTC and OTC adsorbed by Al-WTR at higher TTC/OTC:P ratios. However, when P(V) was added after the equilibration of TTC and OTC by Al-WTR, the effect was minimal and insignificant (p > 0.1). The presence of sulfate had a minimal/negligible effect on the sorption of TCs by Al-WTR. A significant negative effect (p < 0.001) on the adsorption of TCs by Al-WTR was observed in the pH range below 5 and at higher TCs:Ca2+ ratios, probably due to TCs-Ca2+ complex formation. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis indicated the possibility of inner-sphere-type bonding by the functional groups of OTC/TTC on Al-WTR surface. Results from the batch sorption study indicate high affinity of Al-WTR for TCs in the pH range 4–8 (majorly encountered pH in the environment) in the presence of competing ligands and complexing metal.

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© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4145-z

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Environmental Science and Pollution Research