University of Oulu

Zhongfei Ren, Henrik Romar, Toni Varila, Xing Xu, Zhao Wang, Mika Sillanpää, Tiina Leiviskä, Ibuprofen degradation using a Co-doped carbon matrix derived from peat as a peroxymonosulphate activator, Environmental Research, Volume 193, 2021, 110564, ISSN 0013-9351,

Ibuprofen degradation using a Co-doped carbon matrix derived from peat as a peroxymonosulphate activator

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Author: Ren, Zhongfei1; Romar, Henrik2; Varila, Toni2,3;
Organizations: 1Chemical Process Engineering, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FIN-90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Research Unit of Sustainable Chemistry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FIN-90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Applied Chemistry, Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius, University of Jyvaskylä, P.O. Box 567, FI-67101, Kokkola, Finland
4Shandong Key Laboratory of Water Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shandong University, Jinan, 250100, PR China
5School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa
6Institute of Research and Development, Duy Tan University, Da Nang, 550000, Viet Nam
7Faculty of Environment and Chemical Engineering, Duy Tan University, Da Nang, 550000, Viet Nam
8School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, West Street, Toowoomba, 4350, QLD, Australia
9Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Mining, Metallurgy and Chemical Engineering, University of Johannesburg, P. O. Box 17011, Doornfontein, 2028, South Africa
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 10 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-21


The wider presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in nature is a major cause for concern in society. Among pharmaceuticals, the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen has commonly been found in aquatic and soil environments. We produced a Co-doped carbon matrix (Co–P 850) through the carbonization of Co²⁺ saturated peat and used it as a peroxymonosulphate activator to aid ibuprofen degradation. The properties of Co–P 850 were analysed using field emission scanning electron microscopy, energy filtered transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The characterization results showed that Co/Fe oxides were generated and tightly embedded into the carbon matrix after carbonization. The degradation results indicated that high temperature and slightly acidic to neutral conditions (pH = 5 to 7.5) promoted ibuprofen degradation efficiency in the Co–P 850/peroxymonosulphate system. Analysis showed that approx. 52% and 75% of the dissolved organic carbon was removed after 2 h and 5 h of reaction time, respectively. Furthermore, the existence of chloride and bicarbonate had adverse effects on the degradation of ibuprofen. Quenching experiments and electron paramagnetic resonance analysis confirmed that SO4·-, ·OH and O2·− radicals together contributed to the high ibuprofen degradation efficiency. In addition, we identified 13 degradation intermediate compounds and an ibuprofen degradation pathway by mass spectrometry analysis and quantum computing. Based on the results and methods presented in this study, we propose a novel way for the synthesis of a Co-doped catalyst from spent NaOH-treated peat and the efficient catalytic degradation of ibuprofen from contaminated water.

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Series: Environmental research
ISSN: 0013-9351
ISSN-E: 1096-0953
ISSN-L: 0013-9351
Volume: 193
Article number: 110564
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110564
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: The research was supported by the Finnish National Agency for Education through the EDUFI Fellowship (TM-18-10999).
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (