TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian researchers from Amirkabir University of Technology designed laboratorial nanosorbents that help the removal and purification of medications existing in the wastewater of industrial pharmaceutical plants.

The nanosorbent has high sorption capacity and enables the treatment of wastewater through a simple and cost-effective method.

Leakage of medical wastewater produced by pharmaceutical plants to the surface waters and rivers as well as the agricultural waters has raised serious environmental concerns. It is necessary to eliminate medications from industrial wastewater because even very low concentration of these materials in water threatens the health of humans and animals.

This research studied the potential of synthetic nanozeolites to eliminate acetaminophen and diclofenac from pharmaceutical wastewater.

Results confirmed the high adsorption of acetaminophen and diclofenac by using nanozeolites. The nanosorbent was recycled and used in some sorption-release cycles. Based on the results, the sorption capacity of the synthetic nanozeolites did not change noticeably after a few sorption cycles. This fact is a proof for the high capacity of the nanosorbents in the elimination of pharmaceutical compounds from industrial wastewater.

A comparison between common processes of advanced oxidation and sorption process showed that advanced oxidation methods have some problems, including long time, high costs and high energy consumption. However, sorption process can be considered a more effective approach to deal with pharmaceutical wastewater due to its simplicity, mild operational conditions and economic feasibility study.

The researchers hope that the result of the research helps the elimination of pharmaceutical compounds from the wastewater of pharmaceutical plants.

Results of the research have been published in Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering, vol. 32, issue 8, 2015, pp. 1606-1612.