Cysteine-enhanced reductive degradation of nitrobenzene using nano-sized zero-valent iron by accelerated electron transfer

Si Luo , Yuanming Peng , Yunsong Mu , Chao Xue , Anwei Chen , Liang Peng , Haiyong Wu


Received May 21, 2020,Revised , Accepted July 17, 2020, Available online July 24, 2020

Volume 100,2021,Pages 110-116

As an aliphatic amino acid, cysteine (CYS) is diffuse in the living cells of plants and animals. However, little is known of its role in the reactivity of nano-sized zero-valent iron (NZVI) in the degradation of pollutants. This study shows that the introduction of CYS to the NZVI system can help improve the efficiency of reduction, with 30% more efficient degradation and a reaction rate constant nine times higher when nitrobenzene (NB) is used as probe compound. The rates of degradation of NB were positively correlated with the range of concentrations of CYS from 0 to 10 mmol/L. The introduction of CYS increased the maximum concentration of Fe(III) by 12 times and that of Fe(II) by four times in this system. A comparison of systems featuring only CYS or Fe(II) showed that the direct reduction of NB was not the main factor influencing its CYS-stimulated removal. The reduction in the concentration of CYS was accompanied by the generation of cystine (CY, the oxidized form of cysteine), and both eventually became stable. The introduction of CY also enhanced NB degradation due to NZVI, accompanied by the regeneration of CYS. This supports the claim that CYS can accelerate electron transfer from NZVI to NB, thus enhancing the efficiency of degradation of NB.

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