Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Chiral pharmaceutical drug adsorption to natural and synthetic particulates in water and their desorption in simulated gastric fluid.

Petrie, Bruce; Moura, Diana S.; Lawton, Linda A.; Sanganyado, Edmond


Diana S. Moura

Edmond Sanganyado


Natural and synthetic particulates in aquatic environments can act as a vector for chiral pharmaceutical drugs. Understanding enantiomer enrichment in the particulate phase of water matrices is essential considering the enantiospecific effects that chiral drugs can have on exposed organisms. Therefore, the enantiospecific adsorption of the cationic drugs fluoxetine and propranolol to polyhydroxyalkanoate bioplastic, polyamide microplastic, and cellulose particulates was investigated in 0.01 M calcium chloride (CaCl2) buffer and real environmental matrices. Fluoxetine enantiomers adsorbed to all particulate types under all conditions studied. Yet, propranolol only adsorbed to polyamide in 0.01 M CaCl2 buffer at pH 11, and in samples prepared using real matrices (river water and wastewater). No enantioselectivity was observed in the adsorption of fluoxetine or propranolol, or their subsequent desorption in a simulated gastric environment. Findings showed the enantiomeric composition of the adsorbed drug will reflect that of the dissolved drug assuming no degradation takes place. However, further enantiospecific adsorption studies are now needed on a broader range of chiral drugs and particulate matter found in water. Importantly, drug adsorption was considerably greater in river water and wastewater compared to 0.01 M CaCl2 buffer (2.1 to 5.3 times for fluoxetine). Most adsorption studies reported in the literature use 0.01 M CaCl2 buffer to conform with international guidelines for assessing the adsorption behaviour of chemicals. Although such conditions enable direct comparison with similar studies, they can underestimate cationic drug adsorption to particulates in engineered and natural environments. This needs consideration in future studies on drug adsorption to microplastics and other particulate matter in laboratory studies.


PETRIE, B., MOURA, D.S., LAWTON, L.A. and SANGANYADO, E. 2023. Chiral pharmaceutical drug adsorption to natural and synthetic particulates in water and their desorption in simulated gastric fluid. Journal of hazardous materials advances [online], 9, article 100241. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 15, 2023
Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 24, 2023
Journal Journal of hazardous materials advances
Print ISSN 2772-4166
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 100241
Keywords Plastic; Biopolymer; Pharmaceutical; Emerging contaminant; Enantiomer; Sorption
Public URL
Additional Information This article has been published with separate supporting information. This supporting information has been incorporated into a single file on this repository and can be found at the end of this document.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations