Evaluation of techniques for the remediation of antibiotic-contaminated water using activated carbon
Antibiotics have emerged as an important group of environmental pollutants and attracted global concern due to their persistent influence on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems even at low concentrations and the possibilities of the evolution of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Their presence has been reported worldwide in almost all environmental matrices such as food chain, soil, underground-surface water, plants, and animals. This suggests that the current water-treatment processes are insufficient for the removal of antibiotic contaminants. Herein, a review of the removal of antibiotic contaminants with different physicochemical properties, such as structure, type, and solubility, from water is presented. To resolve this issue, several methods have been explored for the removal of these water contaminants. The current scenario of the causes and occurrence of antibiotic pollution and the needs, mechanisms and elimination of several antibiotics by adsorption using activated carbon (AC) has been explored in this review. Moreover, the removal efficiency of different activated carbon materials has been evaluated by their rate of degradation and further examined by several isothermal models. In addition, adsorption mechanisms have been described. Furthermore, the future prospects of the activated carbon-based removal of antibiotics by adsorption have been elaborated considering the aspects of research challenges, cost-effectiveness and scaling up.