Imidacloprid oxidation by photo-Fenton reaction

Journal of Hazardous Materials, 150, (2008) 679–686.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.05.018


This paper presents experimental results on the imidacloprid removal from wastewater using homogeneous photo-Fenton reactions illuminated with black light lamps. Multivariate experimental design was used to identify the effect of initial Fe(II) and H2O2 concentrations on process performance. The initial iron concentration played a key role in the process kinetics, whereas hydrogen peroxide concentration directly affected the extent of the oxidation process.

Imidacloprid degradation proceeded via two distinctive kinetics regimes, an initial stage of rapid imidacloprid reduction, followed by a slower oxidation process until complete removal. Under optimal conditions, more than 50% imidacloprid degradation was observed after less than 1 min treatment, and TOC and COD removal up to 65% and 80%, respectively, were measured after all hydrogen peroxide was consumed.

Raw imidacloprid samples presented significant acute toxicity to Daphnia magna and genotoxic effects on Bacillus subtilis sp. Such toxic effects remained detectable even after significant pesticide removal had been achieved, due to the presence of toxic by-products. Both acute toxicity and genotoxicity disappeared after considerable mineralization resulting in final low molecular weight by-products. Results obtained here confirm that design and operation of photo-Fenton processes should focus on toxicity removal rather than on specific target pollutants.

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