Background: In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the environmental
relevance of the presence of several pharmaceutical compounds and their metabolites
in water. To avoid further accumulation of these compounds and their metabolites in
the aquatic environment, several research groups are investigating chemical and photochemical
methods that could be applied in their destruction and subsequent removal from
natural and wastewater.
Objective & Method: Different chemical advanced oxidation processes are being developed
to destroy organic pollutants in water. Most of these methods are based on the production
of HO• radicals that are known to be highly reactive and strong oxidizing agents.
In aqueous chemical processes, these radicals can be generated using a variety of reagents
and under different reaction conditions such as O3, H2O2/UV, TiO2/UV, O3/UV,
H2O2/Fe2+, H2O2/Fe2+/UV and O3/Fe2+/Cu2+/UV. This review is a survey on recent advances in the application
of different chemical advanced oxidation processes to mineralize pharmaceuticals. Paracetamol was selected as
a model compound since its structure is the main component or metabolite of several anesthetic and analgesic
compounds. The degradation of paracetamol by different advanced oxidation methods has been investigated by
a combination of techniques (TOC, UV-Vis, IR, HPLC and GC-MS) in order to determine the optimal reaction
conditions, kinetics, intermediate and product compounds generated.
Conclusion: Understanding the basic concepts about reaction conditions, intermediates and mechanistic details
on mineralization of paracetamol will be quite useful for future applications of several techniques in the removal
of this and other structurally related pharmaceutical and aromatic compounds from water.