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Photocatalytic Degradation of Phenol with Fe-Titania Catalysts

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Iron titanate (FeTiO3) obtained from rich titanium and iron mineral presented some absorption of UV light and photocatalytic activity for the degradation of phenol in aqueous solution. However, most of the reactant is converted to carboxylic acids that remain in the reaction mixture because natural ilmenite do not produce enough HO radicals to completely mineralize the original reactant at the same rate as pure titania (Degussa P25). The XRD analysis of Fe-titania catalysts prepared by simple mixing of FeTiO3 and TiO2 showed that the structure of TiO2 is not modified when small amounts of FeTiO3, in the order of 10% weight, are well mixed with pure titania. Therefore, the photocatalytic activity of these catalysts is not affected by the presence of FeTiO3. But, heavy ilmenite particles induce the separation of the catalysts particles after the photocatalytic degradation processes.

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CT :


e :

Free electrons


Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid

Eg :

Semiconductor energy band gap

h+ :

Electron holes

HO :

Hydroxyl radicals HO


High-performance liquid chromatography



O 2 •− :

Superoxide radical-anions




Semiconductor catalyst

TiO2 :

Titanium dioxide


Total organic carbon


X ray diffraction

BQt :

Benzoquinone concentration (mM)

BTt :

Benzene-triol concentration (mM)


Phenol mineralized to carbon dioxide (mM)

CTt :

Catechol concentration (mM)

HQt :

Hydroquinone concentration (mM)


Total concentration of identified intermediate organic products (mM)


Total concentration of non identified intermediate organic products (mM)

PHt :

Phenol concentration (mM)

PHzero :

Initial phenol concentration (mM)


Total organic carbon concentration in terms of phenol concentration (mM)

TOCt :

Total organic carbon concentration (mM)

TOCzero :

Initial total organic carbon concentration (mM)


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of CONACyT (Project 103532-2009), Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (Grant C06-FAI-11-26.63) and Secretaría de Educación Publica de México (Grant PromeP-Cuerpos Académicos). The technical assistance of Dr. Rafael Barbosa and Dr. Alfredo Aguíllon of is gratefully appreciated.

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Correspondence to Edgar Moctezuma.

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Moctezuma, E., Zermeño, B., Zarazua, E. et al. Photocatalytic Degradation of Phenol with Fe-Titania Catalysts. Top Catal 54, 496–503 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11244-011-9613-1

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  • Photocatalysis
  • Phenol
  • Ilmenite
  • TiO2