Removal of chlorpheniramine and variations of nitrosamine formation potentials in municipal wastewaters by adsorption onto the GO-Fe3O4

  • Chih-Hsien Lin
  • Chi-Min Li
  • Chun-Hu Chen
  • Wei-Hsiang ChenEmail author
Research Article


Chlorpheniramine is a pharmaceutical pollutant and a precursor of carcinogenic nitrosamines during disinfection/oxidation. In our previous study, graphene oxide coated with magnetite (GO-Fe3O4) was capable of removing chlorpheniramine in deionized water by adsorption. This study investigated the removal of chlorpheniramine and its nitrosamine formation potentials (FPs) by adsorption onto magnetic GO-Fe3O4, with respect to the influence by using real municipal wastewaters as the background. In the results, the adsorption performances of chlorpheniramine in wastewaters decreased in the order: GO-Fe3O4 suspension > GO-Fe3O4 particles > activated carbon. Chlorpheniramine adsorptions on GO-Fe3O4 particles and activated carbon were reduced by using real wastewaters as the background, whereas chlorpheniramine adsorption on GO-Fe3O4 suspension was enhanced due to the effects of surface charge on GO-Fe3O4 and ionic strength variation in water. The fittings of adsorption isotherms indicated that the wastewater background reduced the surface heterogeneity of GO-Fe3O4 suspension and improved the adsorption performance. Appreciable removal efficiencies of NDMA and other nitrosamine FPs were observed when GO-Fe3O4 particles were added in real wastewaters. However, when chlorpheniramine was present in wastewaters, chlorpheniramine adsorption and degradation reaction simultaneously occurred on the surface of GO-Fe3O4, increasing NDMA and other nitrosamine FPs in wastewaters after GO-Fe3O4 addition for chlorpheniramine adsorption. The assumption was further demonstrated by observing the NDMA-FP increase during chlorpheniramine adsorption on GO-Fe3O4 in deionized water. GO-Fe3O4 is a potential adsorbent for chlorpheniramine removal. Nevertheless, the low treatment efficiencies at high doses limit its application for nitrosamine FP adsorptions in real wastewaters.


Graphene oxide Magnetite Chlorpheniramine Nitrosamine Formation potential Adsorption 



We thank Prof. Chun-Hu Chen of National Sun Yat-sen University for valuable assistance and helpful suggestions for GO preparation.


This research was conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) under a contact number (MOST 105-2633-E-110-001 and MOST 106-2621-M-110-003). Additional financial support from the Our Fellow Man Alliance (OFMA) in Taiwan is greatly appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards


Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the MOST.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental EngineeringNational Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryNational Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

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