, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 911–921 | Cite as

How UV photolysis accelerates the biodegradation and mineralization of sulfadiazine (SD)

  • Shihui Pan
  • Ning Yan
  • Xinyue Liu
  • Wenbing Wang
  • Yongming Zhang
  • Rui Liu
  • Bruce E. Rittmann
Original Paper


Sulfadiazine (SD), one of broad-spectrum antibiotics, exhibits limited biodegradation in wastewater treatment due to its chemical structure, which requires initial mono-oxygenation reactions to initiate its biodegradation. Intimately coupling UV photolysis with biodegradation, realized with the internal loop photobiodegradation reactor, accelerated SD biodegradation and mineralization by 35 and 71 %, respectively. The main organic products from photolysis were 2-aminopyrimidine (2-AP), p-aminobenzenesulfonic acid (ABS), and aniline (An), and an SD-photolysis pathway could be identified using C, N, and S balances. Adding An or ABS (but not 2-AP) into the SD solution during biodegradation experiments (no UV photolysis) gave SD removal and mineralization rates similar to intimately coupled photolysis and biodegradation. An SD biodegradation pathway, based on a diverse set of the experimental results, explains how the mineralization of ABS and An (but not 2-AP) provided internal electron carriers that accelerated the initial mono-oxygenation reactions of SD biodegradation. Thus, multiple lines of evidence support that the mechanism by which intimately coupled photolysis and biodegradation accelerated SD removal and mineralization was through producing co-substrates whose oxidation produced electron equivalents that stimulated the initial mono-oxygenation reactions for SD biodegradation.


Sulfadiazine (SD) UV irradiation Biodegradation Photolysis products Kinetics 



The authors acknowledge the financial support by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (50978164), Key Project of Basic Research in Shanghai (11JC1409100), the Special Foundation of Chinese Colleges and Universities Doctoral Discipline (20113127110002), Special Fund of State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control (13K09ESPCT), Open research funds from Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Water Science and Technology, Program of Shanghai Normal University (DZL123 and SK201336), and the United States National Science Foundation (0651794), National High Technology Research and Development Program 863(2012AA06A304).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shihui Pan
    • 1
  • Ning Yan
    • 1
  • Xinyue Liu
    • 1
  • Wenbing Wang
    • 1
  • Yongming Zhang
    • 1
  • Rui Liu
    • 2
  • Bruce E. Rittmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering, College of Life and Environmental ScienceShanghai Normal UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Water Science and Technology, Department of Environmental Technology and EcologyYangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua UniversityJiaxingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Biodesign InstituteArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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