Complex wastewater with massive components is now a serious environmental issue facing humanity. Selective removal of low-concentration contaminants in mixed constituents holds great promise for increasing water supplies. Bioenzymes like horseradish peroxidase exhibit oxidizing power and selectivity. Here, we manufactured its mimic through immobilizing non-heme oxamate anionic cobalt(III) complex ([CoIII
, opba = o-phenylenebis(oxamate)) onto pyridine (Py) modified multiwalled carbon nanotubes ([CoIII
-Py-MWCNTs, MWCNTs = multiwalled carbon nanotubes), where MWCNTs captured substrates and Py functioned as the fifth ligand. We chose typical azo dye (C.I. Acid Red 1) and antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) as model substrates. Without •OH, this catalyst could detoxify target micropollutants efficiently at pH from 8 to 11. It also remained efficient in repetitive tests, and the final products were non-poisonous OH-containing acids. Combined with radical scavenger tests and electron paramagnetic resonance result, we speculated that high-valent cobalt-oxo active species and oxygen atom transfer reaction dominated in the reaction pathway. According to density functional theory calculations, the electron spin density distribution order showed that electron-withdrawing ligand was beneficial for inward pulling the excess electron and lowering the corresponding energy levels, achieving an electrophilic-attack enhancement of the catalyst. With target removal property and recyclability, this catalyst is prospective in water detoxication.
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