Tetracycline (TC) is among the most used antibiotics in animal feedstock in the EU. Antibiotics’ persistence as emerging pollutants in the environment is evidenced by their long half-life in residual organic-mineral sediments and waters. The risk associated with this persistence favours antibiotic-resistant microbiota, affecting human health and ecosystems. The purpose of the present work is to assess the adsorption of TC into natural clay minerals, synthetic iron hydroxides and calcined sewage sludge. TC adsorption isotherms were performed in three replicated batch tests at three different pH values (4, 6, 8) and TC concentrations (33–1176 mg·L−1
). X-Ray diffraction (XRD) mineralogy, cation exchange capacity (CEC), Brunauer, Emmett and Teller specific surface area (BET-SSA) and point of zero charge salt effect (PZSE) were determined for the characterization of materials. Sorption was analysed by means of fitting Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption models, which showed good fitting parameters for the studied materials. Low-charge montmorillonite (LC Mnt) is displays the best sorption capacity for TC at maximum TC concentration (350–300 mgTC·g−1
) in the whole range of pH (4–8). Sepiolite and smectites adsorbed 200–250 mgTC·g−1
, while illite, calcined sludge or iron hydroxides present the lowest adsorption capacity (<100 mgTC·g−1
). Nevertheless, illite, sepiolite and ferrihydrite display high adsorption intensities at low to medium TC concentrations (<300 mg·L−1
), even at pH 8, as is expected in wastewater environmental conditions.
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