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Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Catalytic activity and mechanism of ordered mesoporous iron oxides on hydrogen peroxide for degradation of norfloxacin in water at neutral pH

Zhen Yuan A , Minghao Sui A B , Jianrui Yang A , Pan Li A , Zhiran Liu A and Li Sheng A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China.

B Corresponding author. Email: minghaosui@tongji.edu.cn

Environmental Chemistry 14(6) 361-369 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN17119
Submitted: 26 June 2017  Accepted: 10 August 2017   Published: 28 November 2017

Environmental context. Norfloxacin is widely used as a human and veterinary medicine for its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. It is chemically stable, rendering it difficult to remove from water using the traditional water and wastewater treatment techniques. We investigate the use of iron oxide catalysts for the degradation of norfloxacin in water prior to its release into the environment.

Abstract. The catalytic activity of ordered mesoporous Fe2O3 (om-Fe2O3) on H2O2 oxidation of norfloxacin (NOR) under neutral pH conditions in water was investigated. Using non-ordered-mesoporous Fe2O3 as a reference (nom-Fe2O3), om-Fe2O3 with high specific surface area of 176.4 m2 g−1 and a uniform pore structure exhibited high catalytic activity in the decomposition of H2O2 as well as the degradation of NOR at neutral pH. Compared with nom-Fe2O3, om-Fe2O3 promoted the decomposition of H2O2 differently. The adsorption capacity of om-Fe2O3 for NOR was much higher than that of nom-Fe2O3. The adsorption efficiency of NOR on om-Fe2O3 accounted for 60.2–64.9 % of the degradation efficiency in om-Fe2O3/H2O2. tert-Butanol (TBA), which is resistant to adsorption by om-Fe2O3, had no effect on the degradation of NOR by om-Fe2O3/H2O2. However, the presence of tromethamine (TMA), which was favourable to adsorption by om-Fe2O3, inhibited the degradation of NOR significantly. Based on the different effects of TBA and TMA on the degradation of NOR, it is proposed that the catalytic degradation of NOR may occur on the surface of om-Fe2O3. Hydroxyl radicals (·OH) generated may be bound on the surface of om-Fe2O3 without diffusing into aqueous solution. It is proposed that the adsorption of target organic pollutants must be considered when assessing the suitability of the om-Fe2O3/H2O2 process. The mechanism of om-Fe2O3 in promoting H2O2 decomposition into OH was also investigated.

Additional keywords: hydroxyl radicals, oxidation, surface reaction.


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