Sulfamethoxazole removal by photocatalytic degradation utilizing TiO2 and WO3 nanoparticles as catalysts: analysis of various operational parameters

  • F. Beheshti
  • R. M. A. TehraniEmail author
  • A. Khadir
Original Paper


Sulfamethoxazole is a commonly used antibiotic with the high potential for propagation of the antibiotic resistance genes in the environment which pose a serious health effect on human health. The present work deals with the treatment of sulfamethoxazole by employing photocatalytic degradation. TiO2 and WO3 nanoparticles were used as catalysts. The morphology and structure of catalysts were characterized by scanning electron microscopy. The effect of various operating parameters such as catalyst dosage, pH value, initial pollutant concentration, and irradiation source on the removal efficiency of sulfamethoxazole was investigated. It was found out that acidic medium is better for degradation of sulfamethoxazole and hence optimum pH value for UV/TiO2 and UV/WO3 were 4 and 3, respectively. The optimum dosage of TiO2 and WO3 was 500 and 750 mg/l that resulted in removal efficiency of 61.28% and 43.3%, respectively. The effect of initial concentration was also studied: increasing the sulfamethoxazole concentration from 25 to 100 mg/l caused a reduction in removal efficiency. Moreover, it was found that the highest activation of TiO2 was in the presence of UVC irradiation and WO3 in the presence of halogen lamps. Also, the removal of sulfamethoxazole from actual hospital wastewater was studied. The results indicated that photocatalytic degradation was still effective even if the removal efficiency was lowered. TOC analysis proved that although sulfamethoxazole was completely removed from the synthetic solution, secondary photostability pollutants were generated. The obtained results revealed that pseudo-first-order model best fitted experimental data at various irradiation sources considered.


Pharmaceutical Photocatalysis Sulfamethoxazole Titanium dioxide Tungsten trioxide 



The authors also would like to extend the acknowledgments to Islamic Azad University, Yadegar Imam Khomeini (RAH) Share Rey and West Tehran Branches.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering, West Tehran BranchIslamic Azad UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Yadegar Imam Khomeini (RAH) Shahre Rey BranchIslamic Azad UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Young Researcher and Elite Club, Yadegar Imam Khomeini (RAH) Share Rey BranchIslamic Azad UniversityTehranIran

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