Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 14, pp 8406–8416 | Cite as

Degradation of anti-inflammatory drug ketoprofen by electro-oxidation: comparison of electro-Fenton and anodic oxidation processes

  • Ling Feng
  • Nihal Oturan
  • Eric D. van Hullebusch
  • Giovanni EspositoEmail author
  • Mehmet A. OturanEmail author
Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes for removal of toxic/persistent organic pollutants from water


The electrochemical degradation of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ketoprofen in tap water has been studied using electro-Fenton (EF) and anodic oxidation (AO) processes with platinium (Pt) and boron-doped diamond (BDD) anodes and carbon felt cathode. Fast degradation of the parent drug molecule and its degradation intermediates leading to complete mineralization was achieved by BDD/carbon felt, Pt/carbon felt, and AO with BDD anode. The obtained results showed that oxidative degradation rate of ketoprofen and mineralization of its aqueous solution increased by increasing applied current. Degradation kinetics fitted well to a pseudo-first-order reaction. Absolute rate constant of the oxidation of ketoprofen by electrochemically generated hydroxyl radicals was determined to be (2.8 ± 0.1) × 109 M−1 s−1 by using competition kinetic method. Several reaction intermediates such as 3-hydroxybenzoic acid, pyrogallol, catechol, benzophenone, benzoic acid, and hydroquinone were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses. The formation, identification, and evolution of short-chain aliphatic carboxylic acids like formic, acetic, oxalic, glycolic, and glyoxylic acids were monitored with ion exclusion chromatography. Based on the identified aromatic/cyclic intermediates and carboxylic acids as end products before mineralization, a plausible mineralization pathway was proposed. The evolution of the toxicity during treatments was also monitored using Microtox method, showing a faster detoxification with higher applied current values.


Ketoprofen Electro-Fenton Anodic oxidation Hydroxyl radicals Mineralization Toxicity 



Ling Feng is a doctoral research fellow of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program ETeCoS3 (Environmental Technologies for Contaminated Solids, Soils and Sediments) under the grant agreement FPA no. 2010-0009.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Géomatériaux et Environnement (LGE)Université Paris-EstMarne la ValléeFrance
  2. 2.Department of Mechanics, Structures and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Cassino and Southern LazioCassinoItaly

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