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Electrochemical Degradation Of Beta-blockers. Studies On Single And Multicomponent Synthetic Aqueous Solutions.

I. Sirés, N. Oturan, M. Oturan
Published 2010 · Chemistry, Medicine

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As far as we know, this is the first study reporting the electrochemical decontamination of solutions containing beta-blockers, which are pharmaceutical pollutants with a high occurrence in natural waters. The oxidation ability of two pre-eminent, eco-friendly electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs), namely anodic oxidation (AO) and electro-Fenton (EF), has been compared at lab-scale by carrying out bulk electrolyses at pH 3.0 at constant current using a carbon-felt cathode able to electrogenerate H(2)O(2) in situ. The studies of single component aqueous solutions were focused on atenolol as a model beta-blocker. The AO process was proven much more effective using a large surface area boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode than a Pt one, which was explained by the great amount of active hydroxyl radicals (BDD(OH)) and the minimization of their parasitic reactions. The EF process with a Pt anode and 0.2 mmol l(-1) Fe(2+) showed even higher performance, with fast destruction of atenolol following pseudo-first order kinetics and fast mineralization because the oxidation process in the bulk allows overcoming the mass transport limitations. The time course of the concentration of the aromatic and short-chain carboxylic acid intermediates demonstrated the progressive detoxification of the solutions. Almost 100% of the initial N content was accumulated as NH(4)(+). Multicomponent solutions containing atenolol, metoprolol, and propranolol, which usually occur together in the aquatic environment, were treated by EF using the Pt/carbon felt cell. A high mineralization rate was observed up to the overall total organic carbon (TOC) removal, which allowed reducing the energy consumption. The absolute rate constant for the reaction of each beta-blocker with OH was determined and the reactivity was found to increase in the order: atenolol (1.42 x 10(9) l mol(-1) s(-1)) < metoprolol (2.07 x 10(9) l mol(-1) s(-1)) < propranolol (3.36 x 10(9) l mol(-1) s(-1)).
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