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Water Res. 2009 Sep;43(16):4070-8. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.06.046. Epub 2009 Jun 27.

Heterogenous photocatalytic degradation kinetics and detoxification of an urban wastewater treatment plant effluent contaminated with pharmaceuticals.

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University of Salerno, Sanitary and Environmental Engineering Division (SEED), Department of Civil Engineering, 84084 Fisciano (SA) Italy.


Degradation kinetics and mineralization of an urban wastewater treatment plant effluent contaminated with a mixture of pharmaceutical compounds composed of amoxicillin (10 mg L(-1)), carbamazepine (5 mg L(-1)) and diclofenac (2.5 mg L(-1)) by TiO(2) photocatalysis were investigated. The photocatalytic effect was investigated using both spiked distilled water and actual wastewater solutions. The process efficiency was evaluated through UV absorbance and TOC measurements. A set of bioassays (Daphnia magna, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and Lepidium sativum) was performed to evaluate the potential toxicity of the oxidation intermediates. A pseudo-first order kinetic model was found to fit well the experimental data. The mineralization rate (TOC) of the wastewater contaminated with the pharmaceuticals was found to be really slow (t(1/2)=86.6 min) compared to that of the same pharmaceuticals spiked in distilled water (t(1/2)=46.5 min). The results from the toxicity tests of single pharmaceuticals, their mixture and the wastewater matrix spiked with the pharmaceuticals displayed a general accordance between the responses of the freshwater aquatic species (P. subscapitata>D. magna). In general the photocatalytic treatment did not completely reduce the toxicity under the investigated conditions (maximum catalyst loading and irradiation time 0.8 g TiO(2) L(-1) and 120 min respectively).

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