Langmuir, Vol.25, No.19, 11608-11613, 2009
Adsorption of Sulfonamide Antibiotics to Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes
The presence of sulfonamide antibiotics in aquatic environments has been recognized as ail issue warranting consideration. In this study, we evaluated multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) as a potential effective adsorbent for removal of two sulfonamide antibiotics, sulfapyridine and sulfamethoxazole, from aqueous solutions. Nonporous, functionality-free graphite was included as a comparative adsorbent. Despite the very low hydrophobicity, the two sulfonamides adsorbed strongly to MWNT and graphite, a fact attributed to pi-pi electron coupling with the graphene surface of the adsorbent. For both sulfonamide antibiotics, similar patterns of pH-dependent adsorption were observed between MWNT and graphite, implying the predominance of graphene structures for the adsorption to MWNT. Moreover, the observed pH effects on adsorption indicate that the protonated neutral form of sulfonamide adsorbs much more strongly than the deprotonated anionic counterpart does. The effects of ionic strength (NaCl and CaCl2) and the presence of a dissolved soil humic acid on adsorption of the two antibiotics to MWNT and graphite were also assessed. Ring current-induced H-1 NMR upfield chemical shifts further verified face-to-face complex formation between neutral sulfamethoxazole and model pi-electron donor compounds (naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene) in solution.