Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 10044–10056 | Cite as

Electro-transformation of mefenamic acid drug: a case study of kinetics, transformation products, and toxicity

  • Zainab Haider Mussa
  • Fouad Fadhil Al-QaimEmail author
  • Ali Yuzir
  • Jalifah Latip
Research Article


Poor removal of many pharmaceuticals and personal care products in sewage treatment plants leads to their discharge into the receiving waters, where they may cause negative effects for aquatic environment and organisms. In this study, electrochemical removal process has been used as alternative method for removal of mefenamic acid (MEF). For our knowledge, removal of MEF using electrochemical process has not been reported yet. Effects of initial concentration of mefenamic acid, sodium chloride (NaCl), and applied voltage were evaluated for improvement of the efficiency of electrochemical treatment process and to understand how much electric energy was consumed in this process. Removal percentage (R%) was ranged between 44 and 97%, depending on the operating parameters except for 0.1 g NaCl which was 9.1%. Consumption energy was 0.224 Wh/mg after 50 min at 2 mg/L of mefenamic acid, 0.5 g NaCl, and 5 V. High consumption energy (0.433 Wh/mg) was observed using high applied voltage of 7 V. Investigation and elucidation of the transformation products were provided by Bruker software dataAnalysis using liquid chromatography-time of flight mass spectrometry. Seven chlorinated and two non-chlorinated transformation products were investigated after 20 min of electrochemical treatment. However, all transformation products (TPs) were eliminated after 140 min. For the assessment of the toxicity, it was impacted by the formation of transformation products especially between 20 and 60 min then the inhibition percentage of E. coli bacteria was decreased after 80 min to be the lowest value.


Electrochemical treatment Mefenamic acid LC-TOF/MS Solid phase extraction Chlorinated transformation products Toxicity assessment 



The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE) funded this research under Grant Nos. 4 J284 and 4F807. Furthermore, this work was also financial supported under grant Professional Development Research University (PDRU) Grant No: 04E52.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4301_MOESM1_ESM.docx (542 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 541 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zainab Haider Mussa
    • 1
  • Fouad Fadhil Al-Qaim
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ali Yuzir
    • 1
  • Jalifah Latip
    • 3
  1. 1.Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT)Universiti Teknologi MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science for WomenUniversity of BabylonHillaIraq
  3. 3.School of Chemical Sciences and Food Technology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)BangiMalaysia

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