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Chemosphere. 2008 Jun;72(3):473-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.02.008. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

Ozonation of oxytetracycline and toxicological assessment of its oxidation by-products.

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Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, PR China.


Antibiotic formulation effluents are well known for their difficult elimination by traditional bio-treatment methods and their important contribution to environmental pollution due to its fluctuating and recalcitrant nature. In the present study the effect of ozonation on the degradation of oxytetracycline (OTC) aqueous solution (100mgl(-1)) at different pH values (3, 7 and 11) was investigated. Ozone (11mgl(-1) corresponds the concentration of ozone in gas phase) was chosen considering its rapid reaction and decomposition rate. The concentration of oxytetracycline, chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and BOD5/COD ratio were the parameters to evaluate the efficiency of the ozonation process. In addition, the toxic potential of the OTC degradation was investigated by the bioluminescence test using the LUMIStox 300 instrument and results were expressed as the percentage inhibition of the luminescence of the marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri. The results demonstrate that ozonation as a partial step of a combined treatment concept is a potential technique for biodegradability enhancement of effluents from pharmaceutical industries containing high concentration of oxytetracycline provided that the appropriate ozonation period is selected. At pH 11 and after 60min of ozonation of oxytetracycline aqueous solutions (100 and 200mgl(-1)) the BOD5/COD ratios were 0.69 and 0.52, respectively. It was also shown that COD removal rates increase with increasing pH as a consequence of enhanced ozone decomposition rates at elevated pH values. The results of bioluminescence data indicate that first by-products after partial ozonation (5-30min) of OTC were more toxic than the parent compound.

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