AOP are in the focus of interest as a result of their high efficiency in persistent organic pollutant removal. In the vast majority of experiments targeting quantification of changes in biodegradability or toxicity, conclusions are drawn by a simple comparison of solutions obtained at different stages of the oxidation. These results do not express properly the toxic potential or biodegradability of distinctive product groups, due to performing investigations without taking into account the decrease of organic content caused by mineralization. Moreover, the presence of H2O2 is very often also neglected, although it usually exerts strong interfering effects in the analytical methods applied routinely. The aim of present study was to draw attention towards these effects. In this work, the H2O2 content was removed by catalytic decomposition with MnO2, while exposure to equal pollutant concentrations was achieved by setting the solutions to equal COD or TOC values. Results obtained in such way (biological approach) have been compared to data obtained by neglecting both factors (technological approach). Biodegradation and ecotoxicity experiments were performed on the example of 0.1 mmol dm−3 sulfamethoxazole solutions oxidized during gamma irradiation. Significant differences were evidenced between the two approaches. Technological approach indicted only moderate transformation to bioavailable substances (BOD5 COD−1 = 0.33), while the biological approach referred to ready biodegradability (0.82). Ecotoxicity assessment performed with Vibrio fischeri bacteria demonstrated differences not only in the extent but also in the tendency of inhibition changes. In order to make reliable ecotoxicity assays, the H2O2 concentrations should be reduced to at least 0.05 mmol dm−3 in V. fischeri and P. subcapitata experiments, while, practically complete removal is needed in case of D. magna. In BOD measurements performed by manometric techniques, reducing the H2O2 concentration to at least 0.05 mmol dm−3 is also recommended.
- Hydrogen peroxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas