Chemists from Russia and China have learned to clean wastewater from antibiotics

Employees of the chemical faculty of MSU named after M. V. Lomonosov together with colleagues from China have developed a catalyst for effectively decomposing a popular antibiotics.

the study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

every year, the world health organization publishes a list of infections that are very difficult to treat due to resistance of bacteria to existing antibiotics. Microbes acquire resistance to these drugs due to the uncontrolled use of the latter, and not only for medical purposes.

So, antibiotics are widely used in agriculture to prevent diseases, speed up animal growth, combating bacterial diseases of plants. Some of these chemicals get into wastewater and the ocean, disrupting the ecological balance, and then remain in the environment for a long time.

One of the types of antibiotics ∎ the tetracycline antibiotics are widely used in agriculture due to their availability and wide spectrum of action. Thus a solution of tetracycline in water can remain active for more than a month, so the risk of the antibiotic in the environment is very high.

However, safe, stable and inexpensive catalysts, accelerating the decomposition of tetracycline, you can stop the spread of this substance through industrial effluents.

“Employees of Department of chemical technology and new materials, Moscow state University and their partners in the Laboratory for the utilization of nonmetallic minerals and solid wastes (China University of Geosciences) has created a cerium-containing catalyst based on natural mineral Apatite, which effectively accelerates the oxidation of tetracycline,” says the Dean of chemical faculty, Moscow state University corresponding member of RAS, Stepan Kalmykov, who was not involved in the study.

Oxides of metals such as manganese and cerium, are often used as catalysts for the decomposition of antibiotics, says co-author Dean Deineko, associate Professor in the Department of chemical technology and new materials, Moscow state University. The challenge to prevent these agents in turn contaminate the purified water. Chemists have solved this problem by embedding cerium ions in a stable crystal lattice of Apatite.

Apatite is a natural mineral, which is based on calcium phosphate. This mineral Foundation from human bone tissue, so the substance is not toxic. The stability of its structure prevents added to the mineral of the cerium into the water (it was confirmed by experiments).

“Cerium can serve as active reaction center, as well as due to its spectroscopic properties at the same time can be an indicator to determine the smallest concentration of antibiotics in water,” says Dean Deyneko.

the High efficiency of the catalyst, the researchers showed, after experiments in industrial ozonator.

By the way, before “News.Science” wrote about the fact that drug-resistant bacteria can spread through the washing machine with a gentle wash cycle, and how resistance to antibiotics may increase because of the chlorine in the wastewater.

Text: To.Science