Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 35, pp 34801–34810 | Cite as

Degradation of propyl paraben by activated persulfate using iron-containing magnetic carbon xerogels: investigation of water matrix and process synergy effects

  • Maria Evangelia Metheniti
  • Zacharias Frontistis
  • Rui S. Ribeiro
  • Adrián M.T. Silva
  • Joaquim L. Faria
  • Helder T. Gomes
  • Dionissios MantzavinosEmail author
Research Article


An advanced oxidation process comprising an iron-containing magnetic carbon xerogel (CX/Fe) and persulfate was tested for the degradation of propyl paraben (PP), a contaminant of emerging concern, in various water matrices. Moreover, the effect of 20 kHz ultrasound or light irradiation on process performance was evaluated. The pseudo-first order degradation rate of PP was found to increase with increasing SPS concentration (25–500 mg/L) and decreasing PP concentration (1690–420 μg/L) and solution pH (9–3). Furthermore, the effect of water matrix on kinetics was detrimental depending on the complexity (i.e., wastewater, river water, bottled water) and the concentration of matrix constituents (i.e., humic acid, chloride, bicarbonate). The simultaneous use of CX/Fe and ultrasound as persulfate activators resulted in a synergistic effect, with the level of synergy (between 35 and 50%) depending on the water matrix. Conversely, coupling CX/Fe with simulated solar or UVA irradiation resulted in a cumulative effect in experiments performed in ultrapure water.


Combined activation Endocrine disruptor Environmental sample Heterogeneous catalyst Kinetics Synergy Ultrasound 



Dr. Zacharias Frontistis would like to thank the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) for providing him fellowship for conducting post-doctoral research in Greece through the “IKY Fellowships of Excellence for Postgraduate Studies in Greece—Siemens Programme” in the framework of the Hellenic Republic—Siemens Settlement Agreement.

Funding information

Part of this work was financially supported by: Project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006984 - Associate Laboratory LSRE-LCM funded by FEDER through COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI) —and by national funds through Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). Rui S. Ribeiro acknowledges the FCT individual Ph.D. grant SFRH/BD/94177/2013, with financing from FCT and the European Social Fund (through POPH and QREN). Dr. Adrian M.T. Silva acknowledges the FCT Investigator 2013 Programme (IF/01501/2013), with financing from the European Social Fund and the Human Potential Operational Programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Patras, Caratheodory 1, University CampusPatrasGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Separation and Reaction Engineering–Laboratory of Catalysis and Materials (LSRE-LCM), Escola Superior de Tecnologia e GestãoInstituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa ApolóniaBragançaPortugal
  3. 3.Laboratory of Separation and Reaction Engineering–Laboratory of Catalysis and Materials (LSRE-LCM), Faculdade de EngenhariaUniversidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto FriasPortoPortugal

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