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Boron promoted Fe3+/peracetic acid process for sulfamethazine degradation: Efficiency, role of boron, and identification of the reactive species

Yuwei Pan , Yanhong Zhang , Guangbing Liu , Yuzhu Xue , Lichun Fu , Yawei Qian , Minhui Hou , Xiang Li , Chen Ling , Ying Zhang


Received October 13, 2022,Revised , Accepted December 17, 2022, Available online December 25, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 72-85

In this work, boron (B) was used to promote Fe3+/peracetic acid (Fe3+/PAA) for the degradation of sulfamethazine (SMT). An SMT degradation efficiency of 9.1% was observed in the Fe3+/PAA system over 60 min, which was significantly increased to 99.3% in the B/Fe3+/PAA system over 10 min. The B/Fe3+/PAA process also exhibited superior resistance to natural substances, excellent adaptability to different harmful substances, and good removal of antibiotics in natural fresh water samples. The mechanism of action of boron for Fe3+ reduction was determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, density functional theory (DFT) calculations, and electrochemical tests. The dominant role of OH was confirmed using quenching experiments, electron spin resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, and quantitative tests. Organic radicals (R-O) and Fe(IV) also significantly contribute to the removal of SMT. DFT calculations on the reaction between Fe2+ and the PAA were conducted to further determine the contribution from OH, R-O, and Fe(IV) from the perspective of thermodynamics and the reaction pathways. Different boron dosages, Fe3+ dosages, and initial pH values were also investigated in the B/Fe3+/PAA system to study their effect of SMT removal and the production of the reactive species. Fe(IV) production determined the kR-O•+Fe(IV) value suggesting that Fe(IV) may play a more important role than R-O. A comparison of the results with other processes has also proved that the procedure described in this study (B/Fe3+/PAA) is an effective method for the degradation of antibiotics.

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