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Carbon Nanomaterial Doped Ionic Liquid Gels for the Removal of Pharmaceutically Active Compounds from Water


Due to large drug consumption, pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) can be found as water contaminants. The removal of PhACs is a significant issue, as they can easily overtake traditional purification methods. Because of their surface properties, carbon nanomaterials are among the most efficient materials able to adsorb PhACs. However, their limitation is their recovery after use and their possible leakage into the aquatic system. Consequently, new hybrid supramolecular ionic liquid gels (HILGs) have been designed for the adsorption of some antibiotic drugs (ciprofloxacin and nalidixic acid) from water. The chemical-physical properties of gels, such as the temperature of the gel-sol transition, morphology, and rheology, have been studied for their use as sorbents. These properties influence the gel removal efficiency of PhAC, i.e., the best system is the gel that presents weaker colloidal forces. A fast removal (RE = 51%) is obtained in 3 h for ciprofloxacin, while a slower adsorption process is observed for nalidixic acid (RE = 88% in 24 h). HILGs can be recycled up to seven cycles and regenerated. In addition, they can be used with higher concentrations or volumes of PhAC and in a realistic apparatus like dialysis membranes. These peculiarities suggest that HILGs can be competitive with more complex sorbent systems.