Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 17066–17076 | Cite as

Application of vermiculite-derived sustainable adsorbents for removal of venlafaxine

  • Andreia Silva
  • Sílvia Martinho
  • Wojciech Stawiński
  • Agnieszka Węgrzyn
  • Sónia Figueiredo
  • Lúcia H. M. L. M. Santos
  • Olga Freitas
Research Article


Removal of emerging pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, from wastewater is a challenge. Adsorption is a simple and efficient process that can be applied. Clays, which are natural and low-cost materials, have been investigated as adsorbent. In this work, raw vermiculite and its three modified forms (expanded, base, and acid/base treated) were tested for removal of a widely used antidepressant, venlafaxine. Adsorption kinetics followed Elovich’s model for raw vermiculite while the pseudo-2nd order model was a better fit in the case of other materials. Equilibrium followed Langmuir’s model for the raw and the acid/base-treated vermiculite, while Redlich-Peterson’s model fitted better the expanded and the base-treated materials. The adsorption capacity of vermiculite was significantly influenced by the changes in the physical and chemical properties of the materials caused by the treatments. The base-treated, raw, and expanded vermiculites showed lower maximum adsorption capacities (i.e., 6.3 ± 0.5, 5.8 ± 0.7, 3.9 ± 0.2 mg g−1, respectively) than the acid/base-treated material (33 ± 4 mg g−1). The acid/base-treated vermiculite exhibited good properties as a potential adsorbent for tertiary treatment of wastewater in treatment plants, in particular for cationic species as venlafaxine due to facilitation of diffusion of the species to the interlayer gallery upon such treatment.

Graphical abstract


Adsorption Pharmaceutical Tertiary treatment Venlafaxine Vermiculite Wastewater 


Funding information

Support was provided by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), FEDER under Programme PT2020 (Project UID/QUI/50006/2013--OCI/01/0145/FEDER/007265) and Programme FCT–UT Austin, Emerging Technologies (Project UTAP-ICDT/CTM-NAN/0025/2014) for the financial funding. Stawiński (Labóratorio Associado para Química Verde–Technologia e Processos Limpos–UID/QUI/50006, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007265) also thanks FCT/MEC for his grant.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1869_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreia Silva
    • 1
  • Sílvia Martinho
    • 1
  • Wojciech Stawiński
    • 1
  • Agnieszka Węgrzyn
    • 2
  • Sónia Figueiredo
    • 1
  • Lúcia H. M. L. M. Santos
    • 1
  • Olga Freitas
    • 1
  1. 1.REQUIMTE/LAQV, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of ChemistryJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

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