Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 8516–8524 | Cite as

Decomplexation of Cr(III)-EDTA and simultaneous abatement of total Cr by photo-oxidation: efficiency and in situ reduction of intermediate Cr(VI)

  • Xianfeng HuangEmail author
  • Xiran Wang
  • Dong-Xing Guan
  • Huabin Zhou
  • Ke Bei
  • Xiangyong Zheng
  • Zhan Jin
  • Yejian Zhang
  • Qi Wang
  • Min Zhao
Research Article


Most prevailing processes are incapable of removing Cr(III)-organic complexes efficiently and facing the problem of in-process formation of highly toxic Cr(VI) based on oxidation. The efficient decomplexation of Cr(III) complexes and simultaneous abatement of Cr with low Cr(VI) accumulation would be desirable in treatment of Cr(III)-complexed wastewater. Here, we found efficient degradation of Cr(III)-EDTA and simultaneous removal of Cr by forming Cr2O3 precipitate from simulated solution as well as an electroplating effluent under UV irradiation. The results showed a complete degradation of Cr(III)-EDTA after reaction time of 60 min and 70–80% of TOC mineralization within 180 min as well. About 90% of Cr(III) precipitated as Cr2O3 simultaneously, with the residual total Cr below 1.5 mg/L. The degradation of Cr(III)-EDTA was a stepwise de-acetate group process, as proven by the obvious attenuation of peaks related to carboxyl groups and C–C bond from FT-IR spectra of Cr(III)-EDTA and significant mineralization of TOC after UV irradiation. Based on negligible accumulation of Cr(VI) (less than 0.1 mg/L) under N2-sparged condition, the C-centered radicals from the β-fragmentation of O-centered radicals formed by photo-induced ligand-to-metal charge transfer were responsible for the in situ reduction of intermediate Cr(VI), resulting in the low accumulation of Cr(VI). The addition of 20 mg/L Fe2+ was capable of removing the remaining Cr(VI) and total Cr, with Cr(VI) and total Cr less than 0.1 and 1.0 mg/L, respectively. Moreover, the photo-oxidation process combined with Fe2+ addition were efficient in removing other Cr(III) complexes, such as Cr(III)-citrate and those from a realistic electroplating effluent. We believe that this study would provide an alternative option for efficient degradation of Cr(III) complexes and simultaneous abatement of Cr from contaminated water.


Cr(III) complexes Advanced oxidation process Decarboxylation Cr2O3 precipitate 



This study was supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project (No. 2013ZX07312001), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51808406), Wenzhou Science and Technology Innovation Project in the Control and Management of the Contaminated Water (No. W2017004), and Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation (No. LY16B070008).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_4091_MOESM1_ESM.docx (64 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 63 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life and Environmental ScienceWenzhou UniversityWenzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Surficial Geochemistry, Ministry of Education, School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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