The increasing amount of hazardous micropollutants in the aqueous environment has recently become a concern, especially because they are not usually included in environmental monitoring programs. There is also limited knowledge regarding their behavior in the environment and their toxicity. This paper presents results regarding the heterogeneous photosensitized oxidation of 10 phenolic compounds under visible light. All of the selected compounds are classified as pollutants of emerging concern. For the first time, the application of photosensitizing catalysts incorporated into a chitosan carrier was investigated from several points of view, namely, structure characterization, singlet oxygen generation potential, photodegradation ability, biodegradability, and toxicity assessment. It was found that compounds of different origins were degraded with high effectivity. Photoactive chitosan was stable and could be reused for at least 12 cycles without losing its photocatalytic activity. The Hammett constants for all of the degraded compounds were determined. Improved biodegradability after the treatment was achieved for almost all compounds, apart from 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, and only slightly for 2-phenylphenol. The acute toxicity was assessed using bioluminescent Vibrio fischeri
bacteria, indicating lower toxicity than the parent compounds.
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