Photocatalytic degradation of benzenesulfonate on colloidal titanium dioxide

Erzsébet Szabó-Bárdos, Otília Markovics, Ottó Horváth, Norbert Toro, Gyula Kiss

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Titanium dioxide-mediated photocatalyzed degradation of benzenesulfonate (BS) was investigated by monitoring chemical oxygen demand (COD), total organic carbon (TOC) content, sulfate concentration, pH as well as the absorption and emission spectral changes in both argon-saturated and aerated systems. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis was utilized for the detection of intermediates formed during the irradiation in the UVA range (λmax = 350 nm). The results obtained by these analytical techniques indicate that the initial step of degradation is hydroxylation of the starting surfactant, resulting in the production of hydroxy- and dihydroxybenzenesulfonates. These reactions were accompanied by desulfonation, which increases [H+] in both argon-saturated and aerated systems. In accordance with our previous theoretical calculations, the formation of ortho- and meta-hydroxylated derivatives is favored in the first step. The main product of the further oxygenation of these derivatives was 2,5-dihydroxy-benzesulfonate. No decay of the hydroxy species occurred during the 8-h irradiation in the absence of dissolved oxygen. In the aerated system much more efficient desulfonation and hydroxylation, moreover, a significant decrease of TOC took place at the initial stage. Further hydroxylation led to cleavage of the aromatic system, due to the formation of polyhydroxy derivatives, followed by ring fission, resulting in the production of aldehydes and carboxylic acids. Total mineralization was achieved by the end of the 8-h photocatalysis. It has been proved that in this photocatalytic procedure the presence of dissolved oxygen is necessary for the cleavage of the aromatic ring because hydroxyl radicals photochemically formed in the deaerated system too alone are not able to break the C-C bonds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1628
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011



  • Benzenesulfonate
  • Intermediates
  • Oxidative degradation
  • Oxygenation
  • Photocatalysis
  • Titanium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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