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Bioresour Technol. 2019 May;280:255-259. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2019.02.003. Epub 2019 Feb 2.

Single-step pyrolysis of phosphoric acid-activated chitin for efficient adsorption of cephalexin antibiotic.

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Department of Chemistry, Govt. Degree College, Anantnag 192102, Jammu & Kashmir, India.
Department of Chemical Engineering, Engineering College, Baghdad University, P.O. Box 47024, Aljadria, Baghdad, Iraq.
School of Science, Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang 110870, Liaoning, China.
Department of Biotechnology, College of Science, University of Diyala, Baqubah, Iraq.
School of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia. Electronic address:


Cephalexin (CFX) antibiotic, a potent pharmaceutical water pollutant, was efficiently removed by activated carbon (AC) derived from a single-step pyrolysis of phosphoric acid-activated chitin. Experimental conditions such as temperature, CFX initial concentration, and solution pH were screened in batch adsorption. Phosphoric acid activation of chitin and subsequent pyrolysis tailored the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area, total pore volume, and average pore diameter to 1199.02 m2/g, 0.641 cm3/g, and 21.37 Å, respectively. The Langmuir isotherm adequately described the equilibrium data for CFX adsorption on chitin-AC, with an R2 of 0.99 and a monolayer capacity of 245.19 mg/g at 50 °C. Chitin-AC showed higher adsorption capacity compared with other ACs derived from industrial and agricultural precursors. When activated by phosphoric acid, chitin-AC featured functional multi-sites for vast antibiotic adsorption treatment. Overall, chitin-AC could be a promising adsorbent for removal of CFX.


Activated carbon; Adsorption; Antibiotics; Chitin; Pyrolysis

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