The improved understanding of the behavior of antibiotics in soil is of great importance due to their environmental hazard and frequent detection. In this work, the adsorption-desorption and mobility behaviors of ciprofloxacin in sandy silt soil, affecting the fate of ciprofloxacin in the environment, were studied by a series of batch tests and column tests. In batch tests, the effects of contact time, initial ciprofloxacin concentration, sandy silt soil dosage, solution pH, and ionic strength on ciprofloxacin adsorption and desorption in sandy silt soil were considered. Adsorption results were satisfactorily modeled, with good fittings to the pseudo-second-order model (R2
> 0.999) and Langmuir model (R2
> 0.991), with the value for Langmuir’s maximum adsorption capacity (qm
) 5.50 mg g−1
. Ciprofloxacin adsorption decreased sharply by increasing the pH from 7.0 to 10.0 and the ionic strength from 0.01 to 0.2 mol L−1
. Comparatively, ciprofloxacin was more readily desorbed from sandy silt soil at alkaline and high ionic strength conditions. Breakthrough curves of ciprofloxacin obtained from the column experiments were described by the two-site model, Thomas model, and Yan mode. Of these models, the two-site model was the most suitable to describe the mobility of ciprofloxacin. The retardation factor (R
) obtained in the two-site model was 345, suggesting strong adsorption affinity with ciprofloxacin on the sandy silt soil surface. The results from the Thomas model suggested the extremely small external and internal diffusion resistances. The Yan model was not suitable. Cation exchange interaction, electrostatic interaction, mechanical resistance, entrapment between porous media, and gravity sedimentation were proposed to be the important adsorption mechanisms.
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