Title : Photocatalytic degradation of antibiotic pharmaceutical pollutant by a magnetic material, Aluminium ferrite (AlFeO3)
Sulfamethoxazole (SMX) is one of the widely used antibiotics in human and animal medical treatments. Traces of unexploited SMX are found in surface and ground waters, which cause the emergence of antibiotic resistance bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes. Due to low biodegradability of SMX, it is reasonable to develop catalytic degradation methods for its removal for SMX from the wastewater. Photocatalytic wastewater treatment is one among the Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) which remove/degrade targeted pollutants from wastewater. Here, a magnetic photocatalyst, Aluminium ferrite (AlFeO3) is used to test the degradation of SMX using visible light.
Aluminium ferrite is a prepared by the co-precipitation method. The structural property of AlFeO3 before and after the photocatalytic degradation are characterized. The wide optical absorption (250 nm – 600 nm) of the catalyst enables the photocatalytic degradation using UV and Visible light. The magnetic property of AlFeO3 enables the retrieval of the catalyst after the degradation process and allows catalyst reusability. The photocatalytic experiment is carried out using Xenon lamp with model SMX pollutant. The degradation of the pollutant and the degraded by-products are analyzed using Liquid Chromatography – Mass Spectroscopy (LC-MS) technique. The results indicated that the catalyst can completely degrade SMX and the degradation pathway is proposed in this work. Thus Aluminium ferrite is a potential candidate for sunlight driven targeted pollutant removal in wastewater treatment.