Study of the adsorption of endocrine disruptor compounds on typical filter materials using a quartz crystal microbalance

  • Jun-Xiong Guo
  • Jie Pan
  • Jing WangEmail author
  • Fei Wang
  • Hong-Xin Shi
Research Article


Drinking water containing environmental endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) endangers human health, and researching the purification process of drinking water for the effective removal of EDCs is vitally important. Filtering plays a crucial role in the bio-adsorption of EDCs, but the adsorption mechanism that occurs between the EDCs and filters remains unclear. In this study, a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) was employed to elucidate the adsorption mechanism because QCM is a label-free method that possesses high selectivity, high stability, and high sensitivity. The results indicated that a pseudo-first-order kinetic model best fits the adsorption process of four different EDCs, which included bisphenol A (BPA), estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and sulfamethoxazole (SMZ), on silica (quartz sand), a typical filter material surface. The order of the amount of individual EDCs absorbed on the silica surface was qE2 > qE1 > qSMZ > qBPA and related to their molecular structure, polarity, and chargeability. As the initial EDC concentration increased, the adsorbed amount of the four EDCs on the silica surface increased; however, the initial concentration had little effect on removal efficiency. The calculated Freundlich exponent (1/n) demonstrated SMZ and BPA showed a greater tendency for adsorption than E1 and E2. The mass response time on the surface of the silica gradually increased as the pH increased (from 5.5 to 8.5), indicating the adsorption rate was inhibited by the increase in pH. The addition of electrolytes shortened the mass response time of EDCs on the QCM chip. The pH and ionic strength produced no significant effects on adsorption because hydrophobicity was the primary contributor to adsorption. This study facilitated a better understanding of the interaction between EDCs and filters in water treatment.


Endocrine disruptor compounds Quartz crystal microbalance Filter materials Adsorption mechanism 



This work was supported by the Science and Technology Plan Project of Yunnan Province (2018FD065) and the Youth Research Fund Project of Chongqing Jianzhu College (QN2018005).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5361_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.4 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1435 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chongqing Jianzhu CollegeChongqingChina
  2. 2.Kunming Metallurgy CollegeKunmingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of the Three Gorges Reservoir Region’s Eco-Environment, Ministry of EducationChongqing UniversityChongqingChina

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