Antibiotic pollutants discharged from pharmaceutical industries are often present in the aquatic
environment due to ineffective treatment of pharmaceutical wastewater and are hazardous to
human and aquatic life. Therefore, effective treatment of antibiotic-containing wastewater is of
utmost importance in the field of environmental protection. This study aims to evaluate the
adsorption performance of an amine-functionalized MCM–41 mesoporous silica nanoparticles
system (MCM–41–NH2) as an adsorbent for the removal of ciprofloxacin (CIP) antibiotic from
aqueous solution. Surface and structural characteristics of MCM–41–NH2 were examined using
scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller analysis, Fourier
transform infrared spectroscopy, and point of zero charge analysis. In addition, thermal stability
was investigated by thermogravimetric analysis. Via the proposed treatment, 99.25% CIP
removal was achieved under the following conditions: pH = 7; MCM–41–NH2 dose = 0.8 g/L;
CIP concentration = 10 mg/L; adsorption time = 120 min; and shaking speed = 200 rpm.
Isotherm study showed that the experimental data fitted well with the Langmuir equation.
Moreover, the maximum adsorption capacity of MCM–41–NH2 for CIP was 164.3 mg/g.
Thermodynamic parameters showed that the adsorption process of CIP on MCM–41–NH2 was
endothermic and spontaneous. Additionally, the increase in solution temperature had a positive
impact on the removal of CIP. The kinetic data obtained at different CIP concentrations (10, 25,
50, and 100 mg/L) were consistent with the pseudo-second-order model. MCM–41–NH2 could
be recycled eight times in the proposed adsorption process, with a slight loss in its adsorption
capacity. Compared with other adsorbents, MCM–41–NH2 was more effective for CIP removal.