Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 15, pp 11372–11386 | Cite as

Photolytic and thin TiO2 film assisted photocatalytic degradation of sulfamethazine in aqueous solution

  • Sandra BabićEmail author
  • Mirta Zrnčić
  • Davor Ljubas
  • Lidija Ćurković
  • Irena Škorić
Research Article


This paper deals with the photolytic and the photocatalytic degradation of sulfonamide antibiotic sulfamethazine (SMT) dissolved in Milli-Q water and in synthetic wastewater. Besides the direct photolysis, oxidation processes including UV/H2O2, UV/TiO2, and UV/TiO2/H2O2 using UV-A and UV-C radiation were investigated. Pseudo-first-order kinetics was observed for the degradation of SMT in all investigated processes. Additions of an electron acceptor (H2O2) and a catalyst (TiO2 film) accelerated the photolytic degradation of SMT for both the UV-A- and the UV-C-based processes. The most efficient process was UV-C/TiO2/H2O2 with complete degradation of SMT obtained in 10 min. The UV-A-based processes have been less efficient in terms of irradiation time required to totally degrade SMT than the UV-C-based processes. It was also confirmed that different wastewater components can significantly reduce the degradation rate of SMT. An almost ninefold reduction in the rate constant of SMT was observed for the specific synthetic wastewater. Although UV-A radiation experiments need more time and energy (2.7 times more electrical energy was consumed per gram of demineralized SMT) than UV-C experiments, they have a potential for practical use since natural UV-A solar radiation could be used here, which lowers the overall cost of the treatment. Five degradation products were detected during the degradation processes, and their structural formulae are presented. The structural formulae were elucidated based on mass spectra fragmentation pattern obtained using the tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) and NMR analysis.


Titanium dioxide film Pharmaceuticals Sulfamethazine Photolysis Photocatalysis Photodegradation path Wastewater 



This study was partially supported by the University of Zagreb within the framework of the Short-Term Research Funding 2013-No. 2: “Advanced Water Treatment Technologies.”

Supplementary material

11356_2015_4338_MOESM1_ESM.docx (67 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 66 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Babić
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mirta Zrnčić
    • 1
  • Davor Ljubas
    • 2
  • Lidija Ćurković
    • 3
  • Irena Škorić
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and TechnologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Energy, Power Engineering and Environment, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval ArchitectureUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Department of Materials, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval ArchitectureUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and TechnologyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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