Toxicology Aspects of the Decomposition of Diuron by advanced Oxidation Processes

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Diuron is a phenylurea-based residual herbicide with toxic and endocrine disrupting effects. The aims of the present work were the comparison of the efficiency of various advanced oxidation processes, such as direct ultraviolet photolysis, ozonation, their combination, and heterogeneous photocatalysis from the point of view of the transformation rate of diuron, rate of mineralisation and dehalogenation, formation of aromatic intermediates, and ecotoxicological effects of the formed multicomponent solutions during the treatments. The initial rates of transformation of diuron are in the order of ozonation < heterogeneous photocatalysis < UV photolysis < combination of UV photolysis and ozonation. Each method provided similar tendencies in the decrease of the concentration of organically bound chlorines (AOX) since, until the diuron was completely degraded, the concentration of AOX decreased almost to zero in each case. However, only heterogeneous photocatalysis was found to be effective in terms of mineralisation. Ecotoxicological results showed that in each case, except for ozonation, the toxicity of the treated solutions changed through a maximum during the transformation of diuron. The maximum value was found to be lower in the case of heterogeneous photocatalysis. Thus, the formation and decomposition of by-products of relatively higher toxicity than diuron can be supposed. Our results confirmed that the amount of the formed (aromatic) intermediates, their quality and specific toxicity strongly depend on the applied processes.

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