Batch experiments were conducted to investigate the adsorption characteristics of tetracycline (TC), and the interactive effects of copper (Cu) on the adsorption of TC onto water hyacinth roots. TC removal efficiency by water hyacinth roots was ranging from 58.9% to 84.6%, for virgin TC, 1:1 TC-Cu and 1:2 TC-Cu. The Freundlich isotherm model and the pseudo-second-order kinetic model fitted the adsorption data well. Thermodynamics parameters ΔG0
for TC were more negative in the TC plus Cu than the TC-only treatments, indicating the spontaneity of TC adsorption increased with increasing of Cu concentrations. An elevated temperature was associated with increasing adsorption of TC by water hyacinth roots. The additions of Cu(II) significantly increased TC adsorption onto water hyacinth roots within the pH range 4 to 6, because copper formed a strong metal bridge between root surface and TC molecule, facilitating the adsorption of TC by roots. However, Cu(II) hindered TC adsorption onto water hyacinth roots on the whole at pH range from 6–10, since the stronger electrostatic repulsion and formation of CuOH+
. Therefore, the interaction between Cu(II) and TC under different environmental conditions should be taken into account to understand the environmental behavior, fate, and ecotoxicity of TC.
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