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Synthesis of catalysts for pharmaceuticals degradation by heterogeneous Fenton process

Grant number: 14/04550-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2014
Effective date (End): August 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Bessa Azevedo
Grantee:Thiago Henrique Gomes da Silva
Supervisor: Anett Georgi
Host Institution: Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Helmholtz Association, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:12/09569-3 - Coupling between biological and advanced oxidative processes for treating sanitary wastewater: pharmaceuticals degradation and safe reuse, BP.DR


Pharmaceuticals are contaminants continuously discharged to surface waters, especially from municipal wastewater treatment plants (MWTP). They have drawn attention due to potential damages to the aquatic ecosystem, indirectly affecting humans, even at very low concentrations. Although separately, biological and advanced oxidation processes (AOP) have been investigated for the treatment of pharmaceuticals-containing waters, the coupling of heterogeneous Fenton process in a fixed-bed with a biological treatment is a novelty. The contribution of this study is the development of low-cost and inert materials as supports for heterogeneous Fenton catalysts. The iron source will be supported on natural zeolites by using ion exchange; also, magnetite is going to be modified for studying an accelerated Fenton system. The catalysts will be characterized. The materials stability at different conditions will be determined by leaching (iron) measurements. Adsorption isotherms will be determined to gain insight into a possible periodic adsorption/oxidation process. The degradation of low-concentrated pharmaceuticals will be assessed in Leipzig (Germany) MWTP effluent samples. The degradation process will be optimized be experimental designs. Degradation products will be identified by mass spectrometry. Afterwards, acute and chronic ecotoxicity tests will be conducted to determine any relationship between biological effects and degradation products. This study will provide information for the design of a fixed-bed reactor which will be coupled to biological treatment in Brazil, as well as enabling the reuse of non-potable water. This project also aims at contributing to the student training at a renowned German research institution. (AU)

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