Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 1327–1335 | Cite as

Complete mineralization of the antibiotic amoxicillin by electro-Fenton with a BDD anode

Research Article


On April 30, 2014, the World Health Organization’s first global report on the presence of antibiotics in waters focused on their negative consequences, which may include the growth of microorganisms with antimicrobial resistance. The β-lactam antibiotic amoxicillin (AMX) is widely used in human and veterinary medicine, and it has been recently detected in sewage treatment plants and effluents. In this paper, the degradation of acidic aqueous solutions of AMX by electro-Fenton process has been studied at constant current. Experiments have been performed in an undivided cell equipped with a carbon-felt cathode and a Pt or boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode. In such systems, the organic molecules are mainly oxidized by hydroxyl radical (OH) simultaneously formed on the anode surface from water oxidation as well as in the bulk from Fenton’s reaction between Fe2+ catalyst and electrogenerated H2O2. The decay and mineralization of AMX was monitored by means of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and TOC measurements. The evolution of the concentration of the final aliphatic carboxylic acids and inorganic ions like ammonium, nitrate and sulfate was assessed by HPLC and ion chromatography, respectively. The effect of the anode material, initial AMX concentration and current density was thoroughly studied. The AMX decay always followed a pseudo-first-order kinetics using either Pt or BDD, and the apparent rate constant increased with applied current. A quicker mineralization was reached with BDD because of the larger production of active OH. The absolute rate constant between hydroxyl radical and AMX determined by the competition kinetics method using p-hydroxybenzoic acid as the reference compound was found to be (2.02 ± 0.01) × 109 M−1 s−1.


Amoxicillin Antibiotic Boron-doped diamond anode Electro-Fenton Platinum anode Water treatment 



The authors acknowledge funding from French Ministry of High Education and Research for carrying out the PhD Thesis of Ahmad Dirany.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Chemical and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Laboratoire Géomatériaux et Environnement (LGE)Université Paris-EstMarne La Vallée Cedex 2France
  3. 3.Laboratori d’Electroquímica dels Materials i del Medi Ambient, Departament de Química Física, Facultat de QuímicaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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