1
RUDN University Chemist Creates a Catalyst to Remove Paracetamol from Wastewater

RUDN University Chemist Creates a Catalyst to Remove Paracetamol from Wastewater

A RUDN University chemist has created a catalyst for wastewater treatment that removes paracetamol – one of the most commonly prescribed antipyretics. This medicine is excreted from the body through the kidneys and enters the sewage, where it does not decompose and can pose a threat to people and the environment. The chemist managed to create a catalyst based on silver sulfide, zinc oxide and graphene oxide, thanks to which paracetamol decomposes in light. The work is published in the journal Separation and Purification Technology.

The widespread use of medicinal and hygiene products has become one of the main factors of wastewater pollution. Imperceptible ‘treatment’ with drugs that can enter the human body from insufficiently treated water, pose a serious threat to both human health and the environment. For wastewater treatment, the method of biodegradation is usually used, when the main work is performed by microorganisms. The second option is adsorption, that is, the absorption of harmful substances by filters-adsorbents. But in this case, it is necessary to solve the issue of recycling filters. Ozone oxidation and some other oxidation methods are also used, but they are expensive and require special equipment.

However, many harmful substances are not biodegradable. One of these substances is acetaminophen, better known to consumers as paracetamol or panadol. This is the most common antipyretic and painkiller in the world, which is sold without a prescription in many countries. About 58-68 percent of the paracetamol in the body is released through the kidneys with urine and enters the city sewer system. In European countries, scientists estimate that the concentration of acetaminophen in wastewater that has already been treated can reach 6 micrograms per liter, and in the United States – 10 micrograms per liter. Therefore, the search for effective and affordable ways to remove this substance from wastewater is an urgent task.

RUDN University chemist Raphael Luque and his colleagues created a series of catalysts for photo-oxidation of acetaminophen in an aqueous medium. The catalyst particles were nanospheres of a composite of zinc oxide and silver sulfide, coated on the outside with a layer of graphene oxide – a layer of carbon one atom thick.

Chemists have found that when the catalyst is irradiated in an aqueous medium with visible light, a short-lived and non-toxic superoxide radical is formed from oxygen dissolved in water. It also oxidizes acetaminophen to water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, which are harmless to the environment. The sample with a 10% molar silver content had the highest activity.

For comparison, researchers under the same experimental conditions tested the catalytic activity of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanospheres coated with graphene oxide. They provided photo-oxidation of acetaminophen by 35 percent for titanium dioxide and 47 percent for zinc oxide in 60 minutes. The new catalysts containing silver sulfide were superior in activity. In 60 minutes, 100 percent of the acetaminophen disappeared from the solution.

The work is published in the Separation and Purification Technology.

International scientific cooperation View all
03 Nov 2017
The main goal of the RUDN University and UNISDR Office for Northeast Asia and Global Education and Training Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction at Incheon (UNISDR ONEA-GETI) cooperation is to obtain knowledge about disaster risk reduction and international experience in this area for creating training courses for basic and additional professional education in RUDN
804
30 Jan 2018
The conference on international arbitration, where law students from European universities simulate court proceedings and alternately defend the interests of the respondent and the orator.
663
Similar newsletter View all
30 Dec
Biologists from RUDN University discovered the secret of flaxseed oil with long shelf life

Biologists from RUDN University working together with their colleagues from the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Flax studied the genes that determine the fatty acid composition in flaxseed oil and identified polymorphisms in six of them. The team also found out what gene variations could extend the shelf life of flaxseed oil. This data can be used to improve the genetic selection of new flax breeds. The results were published in the BMC Plant Biology journal.

254
11 Oct
Mowing Is More Harmful to Soil Than Grazing

A team of biologists analyzed soil samples from a pasture and a regularly mowed meadow and found out that grazing lets more carbon get into the soil than mowing. This, in turn, improves the carbon cycle and makes microorganisms more efficient.

11
11 Oct
Soil scientists suggest method for remediating urban garden soils contaminated with lead and arsenic

The soils of urban gardens and vegetable patches contain a lot of toxicants (including lead and arsenic) in high concentrations which can be harmful to the health of children and people with chronic diseases. A team of soil scientists from RUDN University suggested a remediation method developed based on data collected in a garden of Brooklyn (NY, U.S.).

13
Similar newsletter View all