Highly efficient removal of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) such as 17beta-estradiol (E2), 4-nonylphenol (NP) and atrazine from water was achieved using a novel macroporous adsorption medium. The medium consisted of a macroporous poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) cryogel with molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) particles embedded in it. The MIP was prepared using E2, NP and atrazine as templates. The macroporous composite molecularly imprinted cryogels were formed inside the open-ended protective shells, known as Kaldnes carriers. These adsorbents (defined as Macroporous Gel Particles, MGPs) were evaluated on the removal of E2, NP and atrazine from water using different column configurations, namely column filled with the MGPs (packed-bed column) and in moving-bed reactors (defined here as moving-bed MGPs reactor). Complete binding (> 99%) of E2 from a spiked aqueous solution (1 mg/L) was achieved using E2-MIP/MGPs in a moving-bed MGPs reactor at the retention time in the reactor of 4 min, while only 77% was bound to the nonimprinted medium (NIP/MGPs). Similar results were also obtained for the adsorption medium imprinted with atrazine. All contaminants studied (E2, atrazine and NP) were effectively removed from water at low (environmentally relevant) concentrations by the respective adsorption medium.
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