The fate and risk of microplastic and antibiotic sulfamethoxazole coexisting in the environment.Environ Geochem Health. 2023 Jun; 45(6):2905-2915.EG
With huge amount of plastic entering to the environment, microplastic pollution has become a great concern. Microplastic behavior in the environment is important to evaluate its harm to ecosystem and human beings. It has been found that microplastic can be used as a carrier to adsorb and enrich heavy metals or organic pollutants in water or soil. With the development of industry and medicine, antibiotics are improperly used in many countries and most of them end up in wastewater. This study investigates the adsorption behavior of sulfamethoxazole (SMX) antibiotic onto virgin and aged polyamide 6 (PA6) microplastics. The maximum adsorption amount was 0.089 mg SMX/g PA6 at 25 °C and pH 7 with initial SMX concentration of 2 mg/L. Results reveal that the adsorption was mainly due to the chemical bounding. The impact of pH, salinity, and humic acid on the adsorption have been studied, and it was found that the pH has significant impact on the adsorption. At pH 5, the adsorption amount was 0.27 mg/g which is two times higher than that at pH 7. The SMX adsorbed on PA6 tends to be more likely desorbed in reservoir water than in ultrapure water. For instance, the desorption amount of SMX from virgin PA6 was 0.15 mg/L in reservoir water but 0.10 mg/L in ultrapure water. The study indicates that microplastics have great threat to environment.