Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4426–4437 | Cite as

Advanced oxidation of antihypertensives losartan and valsartan by photo-electro-Fenton at near-neutral pH using natural organic acids and a dimensional stable anode-gas diffusion electrode (DSA-GDE) system under light emission diode (LED) lighting

  • Diana Martínez-Pachón
  • Paula Espinosa-Barrera
  • Javier Rincón-Ortíz
  • Alejandro Moncayo-LassoEmail author
Advanced Oxidation Technologies: State-of-the-Art in Ibero-American Countries


In this work photo-electro-Fenton (PEF) processes using a dimensionally stable anode-gas diffusion electrode (DSA-GDE) system under light emission diodes (LED)-type radiation were used in the degradation of the angiotensin-II-receptor antagonists (ARA II), valsartan (VAL), and losartan (LOS), which are used in the treatment of hypertension diseases, and are considered among the emerging contaminants (ECs). Organic acids as citric, tartaric, and oxalic acids were used as complexing agents of iron ions in order to maintain the performance of the Fenton reaction at near-neutral pH value. The results show that at 3.42 mA/cm2 after 90 min of electro-Fenton (EF) treatment, degradation of 70% of VAL and 100% of LOS were observed. Total degradation of VAL and LOS was reached with a PEF process at the same time with mineralization of 30%. When citric and tartaric acids were used instead of oxalic acid, similar results were obtained, i.e., total degradation of both compounds, LOS and VAL, after 90 min of treatment. The degradation performance can be attributed to the increase of the initial dissolved iron in the system, facilitating the Fe3+/Fe2+ turnover in the catalytic photo-Fenton reaction and consequently, hydroxyl radical (OH) production. In addition, the increased photo-activity of the complexes can be associated with their high capability to complex Fe3+ and to promote ligand-to-metal charge transfer, which is of key importance to feed Fe2+ to the Fenton process. The results show that the system evaluated was more efficient to eliminate sartan family compounds using LED lighting in comparison with traditional UV-A lamps used in this kind of work. Moreover, three transformation products of VAL degradation and two transformation products of LOS degradation were identified by high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) using hybrid quadrupole-time-of-flight (QTOF) MS and, at the end of the PEF system, the several organic compounds accumulated and no mineralized were effectively treated in a subsequent aerobic biological system.


Electro-Fenton Photo-electro-Fenton Photo-electro-Fenton with organic acids Emerging contaminants Sartans Wastewater treatment Losartan Valsartan 



The authors acknowledge the financial support from COLCIENCIAS (project code 111571149790). Martínez–Pachón, D. thanks Universidad Antonio Nariño for her Ph.D. scholarship (Convocatoria PFAN 2015). We also thank María Ibañez and Félix Hernández from Research Institute for Pesticides and Water (IUPA), University Jaume I, Castellón, Spain, for his contribution in the mass spectrums analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación en Ciencias Biológicas y Químicas, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Antonio NariñoBogotáColombia
  2. 2.Grupo de Investigación Fundamental y Aplicada en Materiales, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Antonio NariñoBogotáColombia

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