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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.”

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Correspondence to Sandra Babić.

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Sandra Babić is a full professor, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb.

Mirta Zrnčić holds a PhD degree, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb.

Davor Ljubas is an associated professor, Department of Energy, Power Engineering and Environment, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb.

Lidija Ćurković is a full professor, Department of Materials, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb.

Irena Škorić is an associated professor, Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb.

Responsible editor: Roland Kallenborn

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Babić, S., Zrnčić, M., Ljubas, D. et al. Photolytic and thin TiO2 film assisted photocatalytic degradation of sulfamethazine in aqueous solution. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 11372–11386 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4338-5

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Keywords

  • Titanium dioxide film
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sulfamethazine
  • Photolysis
  • Photocatalysis
  • Photodegradation path
  • Wastewater