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Water 2016, 8(9), 383; doi:10.3390/w8090383

Degradation of Acetaminophen and Its Transformation Products in Aqueous Solutions by Using an Electrochemical Oxidation Cell with Stainless Steel Electrodes

Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Avenue Eugenio Garza Sada Sur No. 2501, Colony Tecnológico, Monterrey C.P. 64849, Nuevo León, Mexico
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jiangyong Hu
Received: 1 August 2016 / Revised: 30 August 2016 / Accepted: 31 August 2016 / Published: 6 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants: Occurrence, Fate and Transport, and Removal)
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Abstract

In this study, a novel electrochemical oxidation cell using stainless steel electrodes was found to be effective in oxidizing acetaminophen and its transformation products in short reaction times. Aqueous solutions of 10 mg/L-acetaminophen were prepared at pH 3, 5, 7, and 9. These solutions were electrochemically treated at direct current (DC) densities of 5.7 mA/cm2, 7.6 mA/cm2, and 9.5 mA/cm2. The pharmaceutical and its intermediates/oxidation products were determined by using high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). The results showed that electrochemical oxidation processes occurred in the cell. Acetaminophen degradation rate constants increased proportionally with the increase of current intensity. High current densities accelerated the degradation of acetaminophen; however, this effect diminished remarkably at pH values greater than 5. At pH 3 and 9.5 mA/cm2, the fastest degradation of acetaminophen and its intermediates/oxidation products was achieved. To minimize the wear down of the electrodes, a current density ramp is recommended, first applying 9.5 mA/cm2 during 2.5 min or 7.6 mA/cm2 during 7.5 min and then continuing the electrochemical oxidation process at 5.7 mA/cm2. This strategy will hasten the acetaminophen oxidation, extend the electrode’s life, and shorten the reaction time needed to degrade the pharmaceutical and its intermediates/oxidation products. DC densities up to 9.5 mA/cm2 can be supplied by photovoltaic cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: acetaminophen; anodic oxidation; DC densities; electrochemical oxidation with active chlorine; transformation products acetaminophen; anodic oxidation; DC densities; electrochemical oxidation with active chlorine; transformation products
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

López Zavala, M.Á.; Espinoza Estrada, E. Degradation of Acetaminophen and Its Transformation Products in Aqueous Solutions by Using an Electrochemical Oxidation Cell with Stainless Steel Electrodes. Water 2016, 8, 383.

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