A comprehensive performance evaluation of heterogeneous Bi2Fe4O9/peroxymonosulfate system for sulfamethoxazole degradation

Wen-Da Oh, Victor W. C. Chang, Teik-Thye Lim

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In this study, a Bi2Fe4O9 catalyst with nanoplate morphology was fabricated using a facile hydrothermal method. It was used as a catalyst to activate peroxymonosulfate (PMS) for aqueous sulfamethoxazole (SMX) removal. A comprehensive performance evaluation of the Bi2Fe4O9/PMS system was conducted by investigating the effects of pH, PMS dosage, catalyst loading, SMX concentration, temperature, and halides (Cl and Br) on the degradation of SMX. The Bi2Fe4O9/PMS system demonstrated a remarkable catalytic activity with >95% SMX removal within 30 min (conditions: pH 3.8, [Bi2Fe4O9] = 0.1 g L−1, [SMX]:[PMS] mol ratio =1:20). It was found that both Cl and Br can lead to the formation of PMS–induced reactive halide species (i.e. HClO, HBrO, and Br2) which can also react with SMX forming halogenated SMX byproducts. Based on the detected degradation byproducts, the major SMX degradation pathway in the Bi2Fe4O9/PMS system is proposed. The SMX degradation by Bi2Fe4O9/PMS system in the wastewater secondary effluent (SE) was also investigated. The results showed that SMX degradation rate in the SE was relatively slower than in the deionized water due to (i) reactive radical scavenging by water matrix species found in SE (e.g.: dissolved organic matters (DOCs), etc.), and (ii) partial deactivation of the catalyst by DOCs. Nevertheless, the selectivity of the SO4•− towards SMX degradation was evidenced from the rapid SMX degradation despite the high background DOCs in the SE. At least four times the dosage of PMS is required for SMX degradation in the SE to achieve a similar SMX removal efficiency to that of the deionized water matrix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1035
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bismuth ferrite
  • Bromide
  • Chloride
  • Degradation byproducts
  • Performance evaluation
  • Peroxymonosulfate
  • Secondary effluent
  • Sulfamethoxazole

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