Optimization, isotherm, and kinetic studies of diclofenac removal from aqueous solutions by Fe–Mn binary oxide adsorbents

  • Benny Marie B. Ensano
  • Mark Daniel G. de LunaEmail author
  • Kim Katrina P. Rivera
  • Sheila Mae B. Pingul-Ong
  • Dennis C. Ong
Research Article


Diclofenac (DCF), a widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, has been detected in effluents of conventional wastewater treatment plants worldwide. The presence of this compound in various water resources even at very low concentrations poses a big threat both to human health and aquatic ecosystems. In this study, the removal of diclofenac from aqueous solution using Fe–Mn binary oxide (FMBO) adsorbents was investigated. FMBO adsorbents were prepared at varying Fe/Mn molar ratios (1:0, 3:1, and 1:1) through simultaneous oxidation and co-precipitation methods. Batch adsorption experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of important parameters, such as initial DCF concentration, FMBO dosage, solution pH, and Fe/Mn molar ratio, on DCF removal. Acidic to neutral pH conditions were more favorable for DCF adsorption, while increasing initial DCF concentration and adsorbent dosage resulted in higher DCF removal efficiencies for the three oxides. Lower Fe/Mn molar ratio during FBMO synthesis favored higher DCF removals of up to 99% within a wide pH range. Optimization of operating parameters (initial DCF concentration, FMBO dosage, and solution pH) by Box–Behnken design resulted in up to 28.84 mg g−1 DCF removal for 3:1 FMBO. Freundlich isotherm best described the experimental data, indicating that adsorption occurred on heterogeneous adsorbent surface. Chemisorption was the rate-limiting step of the DCF removal, as best described by the pseudo-second-order kinetic model.


Adsorption Binary metal oxide Box–Behnken design Diclofenac Pharmaceuticals Wastewater treatment 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Sherwin C. Muega, M.S. and Mr. Jose Antonio I. Pimentel for their assistance.

Funding information

The Department of Science and Technology, Philippines, provided financial support for this research undertaking.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6514_MOESM1_ESM.docx (142 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 141 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Engineering Program, National Graduate School of EngineeringUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines
  3. 3.School of TechnologyUniversity of the Philippines VisayasIloiloPhilippines

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