Abstract

Antibiotics, as emerging contaminants, are of global concern due to the development of antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Current wastewater treatment technology cannot efficiently remove sewage antibiotics and therefore new low-cost technologies are needed. Adsorption is a widely used process for removal of substances, and the search for efficient, low-cost adsorbents is ongoing. In this work, termite feces treated with H2SO4 (FT/H2SO4) were used as a low-cost adsorbent for removal of norfloxacin (NOR) present in aqueous medium. Termite feces were treated with H2SO4 at a ratio of 1:1 for 24 h, at 100 °C. The parameters contact time, initial NOR concentration, medium pH and temperature were evaluated. The optimum adsorption pH was 8.0. The pseudo-second-order model was found to best represent the kinetics of NOR adsorption. The maximum adsorption capacity, calculated from the Sips isotherm model, was 104.4 mg/g at 55 °C. The positive values of ΔH0 (change in enthalpy) confirm the endothermic nature of the adsorption. The results show that FT/H2SO4 is an efficient adsorbent for removal of NOR present in aqueous medium. The adsorption capacity is higher than those reported in the literature for other low-cost adsorbents.

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