Diffusive gradients in thin films using molecularly imprinted polymer binding gels for in situ measurements of antibiotics in urban wastewaters
Abstract • Selective molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) binding gel was prepared. • MIP-DGT showed excellent uptake performance for antibiotics. • In situ measurement of antibiotics in wastewaters via MIP-DGT was developed. • The MIP-DGT method was robust, reliable, and highly sensitive. Urban wastewater is one of main sources for the introduction of antibiotics into the environment. Monitoring the concentrations of antibiotics in wastewater is necessary for estimating the amount of antibiotics discharged into the environment through urban wastewater treatment systems. In this study, we report a novel diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) method based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for in situ measurement of two typical antibiotics, fluoroquinolones (FQs) and sulfonamides (SAs) in urban wastewater. MIPs show specific adsorption toward their templates and their structural analogs, resulting in the selective uptake of the two target antibiotics during MIP-DGT deployment. The uptake performance of the MIP-DGTs was evaluated in the laboratory and was relatively independent of solution pH (4.0–9.0), ionic strength (1–750 mmol/L), and dissolved organic matter (DOM, 0–20 mg/L). MIP-DGT samplers were tested in the effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant for field trials, where three SA (sulfamethoxazole, sulfapyridine, and trimethoprim) and one FQ (ofloxacin) antibiotics were detected, with concentrations ranging from 25.50 to 117.58 ng/L, which are consistent with the results measured by grab sampling. The total removal efficiency of the antibiotics was 80.1% by the treatment plant. This study demonstrates that MIP-DGT is an effective tool for in situ monitoring of trace antibiotics in complex urban wastewaters.
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