Route of electrochemical oxidation of the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole on a mixed oxide anode.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Oct; 22(19):15004-15.ES
The appearance of pharmaceutical compounds and their bioactive transformation products in aquatic environments is becoming an issue of increasing concern. In this study, the electrochemical oxidation of the widely used antibiotic sulfamethoxazole (SMX) was investigated using a commercial mixed oxide anode (Ti/Ru0.3Ti0.7O2) and a single compartment filter press-type flow reactor. The kinetics of SMX degradation was determined as a function of electrolyte composition, applied current density, and initial pH. Almost complete (98 %) degradation of SMX could be achieved within 30 min of electrolysis in 0.1 mol L(-1) NaCl solution at pH 3 with applied current densities ≥20 mA cm(-2). Nine major intermediates of the reaction were identified by LC-ESI-Q-TOF-MS (e.g., C6H9NO2S (m/z = 179), C6H4NOCl (m/z = 141), and C6H6O2 (m/z = 110)). The degradation followed various routes involving cleavage of the oxazole and benzene rings by hydroxyl and/or chlorine radicals, processes that could occur before or after rupture of the N-S bond, followed by oxidation of the remaining moieties. Analysis of the total organic carbon content revealed that the antibiotic was partially mineralized under the conditions employed and some inorganic ions, including NO3 (-) and SO4 (2-), could be identified. The results presented herein demonstrate the efficacy of the electrochemical process using a Ti/Ru0.3Ti0.7O2 anode for the remediation of wastewater containing the antibiotic SMX.