Insight into photocatalytic degradation of dissolved organic matter in UVA/TiO₂ systems revealed by fluorescence EEM-PARAFAC.Water Res. 2015 Dec 15; 87:119-26.WR
Photocatalytic degradation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) using TiO2 as a catalyst and UVA as a light source was examined under various experimental settings with different TiO2 doses, solution pH, and the light intensities. The changes in UV absorbance and fluorescence with the irradiation time followed a pseudo-first order model much better than those of dissolved organic carbon. In general, the degradation rates were increased by higher TiO2 doses and light intensities. However, the exact photocatalytic responses of DOM to the irradiation were affected by many other factors such as aggregation of TiO2, light scattering, hydroxyl radicals produced, and DOM sorption on TiO2. Fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) coupled with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) revealed that the DOM changes in fluorescence could be described by the combinations of four dissimilar components including one protein-like, two humic-like, and one terrestrial humic-like components, each of which followed well the pseudo-first order model. The photocatalytic degradation rates were higher for protein-like versus humic-like component, whereas the opposite order was displayed for the degradation rates in the absence of TiO2, suggesting different dominant mechanisms operating between the systems with and without TiO2. Our results based on EEM-PARAFAC provided new insights into the underlying mechanisms associated with the photocatalytic degradation of DOM as well as the potential environmental impact of the treated water. This study demonstrated a successful application of EEM-PARAFAC for photocatalytic systems via directly comparing the kinetic rates of the individual DOM components with different compositions.