PublicationWater Advanced Treatment & Environmental Research Laboratory

Ultrasonic-assisted photocatalytic degradation of various organic contaminants using ZnO supported on a natural polymer of sporopollenin
First author
Parisa Yekan Motlagh
Behrouz Vahid, Sema Akay, Berkant Kayan
Corresponding author
Yeojoon Yoon, Alireza Khataee
Ultrasonics Sonochemistry
Water resource pollution by organic contaminants is an environmental issue of increasing concern. Here, sporopollenin/zinc oxide (SP/ZnO) was used as an environmentally friendly and durable catalyst for sonophotocatalytic treatment of three organic compounds: direct blue 25 (DB 25), levofloxacin (LEV), and dimethylphtalate (DMPh). The resulting catalyst had a 2.65 eV bandgap value and 9.81 m2/g surface area. The crystalline structure and functional groups of SP/ZnO were confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analyses. After 120 min of the sonophotocatalysis, the degradation efficiencies of DB 25, LEV, and DMPh by SP/ZnO were 86.41, 75.88, and 62.54%, respectively, which were higher than that of the other investigated processes. The role of reactive oxygen species were investigated using various scavengers, enhancers, photoluminescence, and o-phenylenediamine. Owing to its stability, the catalyst exhibited good reusability after four consecutive cycles. In addition, the high integrity of the catalyst was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), XRD, and FTIR analyses. After four consecutive examinations, the leaching of zinc in the aqueous phase was < 3 mg/L. Moreover, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analyses indicated that the contaminants were initially converted into cyclic compounds and then into aliphatic compounds, including carboxylic acids and animated products. Thus, this study synthesized an environmentally friendly and reusable SP/ZnO composite for the degradation of various organic pollutants using a sonophotocatalytic process.