Palygorskite for the uptake and removal of pharmaceuticals for wastewater treatment

Zhaohui Li, Nicole M. Fitzgerald, Wei Teh Jiang, Guocheng Lv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, ranitidine (RT), a cationic drug was tested for its removal by palygorskite (PA) under different physico-chemical conditions, such as initial RT concentrations, contact time, equilibrium solution pH, ionic strength, and temperature. FTIR, SEM, and XRD analyses were conducted to determine the mechanisms of RT uptake on PA. The results showed that cation exchange or electrostatic interactions between the negatively charged PA surfaces and positively charge dimethylamine of RT was the major mechanism of RT uptake when solution pH was less than the pKa value of RT. Under high pH conditions, the 2,5-disubstituted furan group interacted with the PA surface via a delocalized π-bond, suggesting that the RT molecules were parallel to PA surface. The larger values for the RT distribution coefficient between PA and solution via electrostatic or cation exchange interactions and delocalized π-bonds in a multi-regression analysis confirmed these mechanisms. The XRD results showed no expansion of the (1 1 0) reflection of PA while the SEM observation showed no changes in crystal size and morphology, indicating that the sites for RT uptake were limited to the external surfaces of PA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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