South Korean scientists have used PET bottles to create an adsorbent material for the removal of antibiotics from water

| Global themes | PETnology Staff Writer

According to a recent article published by ScienceDirect/Elsevier the widespread overuse of antibiotics has led to the serious risks of human life and environmental sustainability. Researchers in South Korea have now turned PET bottles into a material that can remove antibiotics from contaminated water.

As stated in the research from KIST’s Water Cycle Research Center, Professor Choi Jae-Woo and his team extracted high-purity organic ligands from PET bottles, using them to synthesize an adsorbent material that was able to remove antibiotics from water. Through a process called alkaline hydrolysis they were able to obtain pure terephthalic acid by enhancing the efficiency with ultrasound. An iron-based MOF magnetised the terephthalic acid, creating a porous carbon composite that could later be separated out using an external magnetic field. It was able to remove all traces of the antibiotic within one and a half hours when the resulting porous carbon composite was tested.


Based on the report's information the adsorption rate of 671.14 mg/g is of a higher level to that of previously developed adsorbents. The process was conducted five times to assess the reusability of the porous carbon composite. Indicating a high degree of stability and wide applicability for water treatment, the material maintained 90 percent of its adsorption properties.