Removal of pharmaceutical pollutants from aquatic environments using heterogeneous photocatalysis

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran


Penicillin is one of the emerging pollutants that has toxic effects on food chains and aquatic environments. It creates many problems for human health and other living organisms. Conventional wastewater treatment methods cannot remove penicillin; therefore, modern approaches are necessary to remove it from sewage. In this study, we examined the ability of TiO2 photocatalysis in the degradation of penicillin in aqueous solutions. The effects of different factors such as adsorption, pH, catalyst dosage, the initial concentration of penicillin, and time were examined. The results showed that photolysis and adsorption had negligible effects on penicillin degradation. The maximum degradation (94.5%) was observed at an ambient pH of 5, 0.1 g/l of TiO2, and 20 mg/l of penicillin for 90 min. The photodegradation of penicillin followed a first-order kinetic reaction, and the rate constant (k) was 0.0213 min-1. A TOC analysis was conducted to determine the fate of the pollutant. The results showed that 41% of the organic carbon was removed in 120 min. Based on the results, TiO2 photocatalysis is an economically feasible procedure with good efficiency in removing penicillin from the aquatic environment.

Graphical Abstract

Removal of pharmaceutical pollutants from aquatic environments using heterogeneous photocatalysis


Main Subjects

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