The present work is to develop potential adsorbents from waste material and employ them for the removal of a hazardous antibacterial, sulphamethoxazole, from the wastewater by the Adsorption technique. The Adsorption technique was used to impound the dangerous antibiotics from wastewater using Deoiled Soya (DOS), an agricultural waste, and Water Hyacinth (WH), a prolific colonizer. The adsorption capacity of these adsorbents was further enhanced by treating them with sodium hydroxide solution and it was seen that the adsorption capacity increases by 10 to 25%. Hence a comparative account of the adsorption studies of all the four adsorbents, i.e. DOS, Alkali-treated DOS, WH and Alkali-treated Water Hyacinth has been discussed in this paper. Different isotherms like Freundlich, Langmuir and Dubinin–Radushkevich were also deduced from the adsorption data. Isotherm studies were in turn used in estimating the thermodynamic parameters. DOS showed sorption capacity of 0.0007 mol g−1 while Alkali-treated Deoiled Soya exhibited 0.0011 mol g−1 of sorption capacity, which reveals that the adsorption is higher in case of alkali-treated adsorbent. The mean sorption energy (E) was obtained between 9 and 12 kJ mol, which shows that the reaction proceeds by ion exchange reaction. Kinetic study reveals that the reaction follows pseudo-second-order rate equation. Moreover, mass transfer studies performed for the ongoing processes show that the mass transfer coefficient obtained for alkali-treated moieties was higher than the parent moieties. The breakthrough curves plotted from the column studies show percentage saturation of 90–98%. About 87–97% of sulphamethoxazole was recovered from column by desorption.

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