Controlling the structural robustness of zirconium-based metal organic frameworks for efficient adsorption on tetracycline antibiotics

Hee Gon Kim, Keunsu Choi, Kibong Lee, Soonjae Lee, Kyung Won Jung, Jae Woo Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Tetracyclines (TCs) are the most widely used antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of livestock diseases, but they are toxic to humans and have frequently been detected in water bodies. In this study, the physical and chemical properties of the zirconium-based metal organic framework (MOF) UiO-66 and its NH2-functionalized congener UiO-66-NH2 were investigated along with batch TC adsorption tests to determine the effect of functionalization on TC removal. TC removal was highest at pH 3 and decreased with increasing pH. Pseudo-1st and pseudo-2nd-order kinetic models were used to study the adsorption equilibrium times, and Langmuir isotherm model was found to be more suitable than Freundlich model. The maximum uptake for UiO-66 and UIO-66-NH2 was measured to be 93.6 and 76.5 mg/g, respectively. Unexpectedly, the TC adsorption capacity of UiO-66-NH2 was observed to be lower than that of UiO-66. Density functional theory calculations revealed that the pore structures are irrelevant to TC adsorption, and that the –NH2 functional group could weaken the structural robustness of UiO-66-NH2, causing a reduction in TC adsorption capacity. Accordingly, robust MOFs with zirconium-based metal clusters can be effectively applied for the treatment of antibiotics such as TC in water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1869
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by National R&D Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2020M3H4A3106366) and Ministry of Education (NRF-2020R1I1A1A01073779).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Density functional theory calculations
  • NH functional group
  • Structural robustness
  • Tetracycline
  • Zirconium-based metal organic frameworks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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