ZnO/gamma-Fe2O3/Bentonite: An Efficient Solar-Light Active Magnetic Photocatalyst for the Degradation of Pharmaceutical Active Compounds


For applications related to the photocatalytic degradation of environmental contaminants, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) must demonstrate not only a high photocatalytic potential, but also a low tendency to agglomeration, along with the ability to be easily collected after use. In this manuscript, a two-step process was implemented for the synthesis of ZnO, ZnO/Bentonite and the magnetic ZnO/gamma-Fe2O3/Bentonite nanocomposite. The synthesized materials were characterized using various techniques, and their performance in the degradation of pharmaceutical active compounds (PhACs), including ciprofloxacin (CIP), sulfamethoxazole (SMX), and carbamazepine (CBZ) was evaluated under various operating conditions, namely the type and dosage of the applied materials, pH, concentration of pollutants, and their appearance form in the medium (i.e., as a single pollutant or as a mixture of PhACs). Among the materials studied, ZnO/Bentonite presented the best performance and resulted in the removal of similar to 95% of CIP (5 mg/L) in 30 min, at room temperature, near-neutral pH (6.5), ZnO/Bentonite dosage of 0.5 g/L, and under solar light irradiation. The composite also showed a high degree of efficiency for the simultaneous removal of CIP (similar to 98%, 5 mg/L) and SMX (similar to 97%, 5 mg/L) within 30 min, while a low degradation of similar to 5% was observed for CBZ (5 mg/L) in a mixture of the three PhACs. Furthermore, mechanistic studies using different types of scavengers revealed the formation of active oxidative species responsible for the degradation of CIP in the photocatalytic system studied with the contribution of h(+) (67%), OH (18%), and center dot O-2(-) (10%), and in which holes (h(+)) were found to be the dominant oxidative species.



subject category

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Chemistry


Kamali, M; Xue, YT; Khalaj, M; Laats, B; Teunckens, R; Verbist, M; Costa, MEV; Capela, I; Appels, L; Dewil, R

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