Enhanced degradation of sulfamethoxazole (SMX) in toilet wastewater by photo-fenton reactive membrane filtration

Shaobin Sun, Hong Yao, Xinyang Li, Shihai Deng, Shenlong Zhao, Wen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Pharmaceutical residuals are increasingly detected in natural waters, which made great threat to the health of the public. This study evaluated the utility of the photo-Fenton ceramic membrane filtration toward the removal and degradation of sulfamethoxazole (SMX) as a model recalcitrant micropollutant. The photo-Fenton catalyst Goethite (α-FeOOH) was coated on planar ceramic membranes as we reported previously. The removal of SMX in both simulated and real toilet wastewater were assessed by filtering the feed solutions with/without H2O2 and UV irradiation. The SMX degradation rate reached 87% and 92% respectively in the presence of UV/H2O2 for the original toilet wastewater (0.8 ± 0.05 ppb) and toilet wastewater with a spiked SMX concentration of 100 ppb. The mineralization and degradation by-products were both assessed under different degradation conditions to achieve deeper insight into the degradation mechanisms during this photo-Fenton reactive membrane filtration. Results showed that a negligible removal rate (e.g., 3%) of SMX was obtained when only filtering the feed solution through uncoated or catalyst-coated membranes. However, the removal rates of SMX were significantly increased to 67% (no H2O2) and 90% (with H2O2) under UV irradiation, respectively, confirming that photo-Fenton reactions played the key role in the degradation/mineralization process. The highest apparent quantum yield (AQY) reached up to approximately 27% when the H2O2 was 10 mmol·L−1 and UV254 intensity was 100 µW·cm−2. This study lays the groundwork for reactive membrane filtration to tackle the issues from micropollution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number180
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


  • Ceramic membrane
  • Photo-fenton
  • SMX
  • Toilet wastewater
  • α-FeOOH


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