Cyanobacterial toxins present in drinking water sources pose a considerable threat to human health. Conventional water treatment systems have proven unreliable for the removal of these toxins and hence new techniques have been investigated. Previous work has shown that TiO2 photocatalysis effectively destroys microcystin-LR in aqueous solutions, however non-toxic by-products were detected. It has been shown that photocatalytic reactions are enhanced by utilisation of alternative electron acceptors. We report here enhanced photocatalytic degradation of microcystin-LR following the addition of hydrogen peroxide to the system. It was also found that hydrogen peroxide with UV illumination alone was capable of decomposing microcystin-LR although at a much slower rate than found for TiO2. No HPLC detectable by-products were found when the TiO2/UV/H2O2 system was used indicating that this method is more effective than TiO2/UV alone. Results however indicated that only 18% mineralisation occurred with the TiO2/UV/H2O2 system and hence undetectable by-products must still be present. At higher concentrations hydrogen peroxide was found to compete with microcystin-LR for surface sites on the catalyst but at lower peroxide concentrations this competitive adsorption was not observed. Toxicity studies showed that both in the presence and absence of H2O2 the microcystin solutions were detoxified. These findings suggest that hydrogen peroxide greatly enhances the photocatalytic oxidation of microcystin-LR.
- Hydrogen peroxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Environmental Chemistry