Photolytic degradation of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim using UV-A, UV-C and vacuum-UV (VUV)
The photolytic degradation of the non-degradable pharmaceuticals sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and trimethoprim (TMP) in an aqueous solution was investigated using three kinds of low-pressure mercury lamp UV-A (352 nm), UV-C (254 nm), and vacuum-UV (VUV, 185 nm and 254 nm). The degradation rates were highly dependent on the target compounds as well as the UV sources. No degradation of the target compounds was observed using UV-A treatment, because there was no overlap between the UV-A emission spectrum and absorption spectrum of the target compounds. On the other hand, UVC and VUV revealed higher reactivity. The results also indicated that SMX had a greater potential to react photochemically than TMP. Among the UV sources, VUV was the most effective process for the degradation of target compounds. Furthermore, the addition of oxidants such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and sodium persulfate (Na2S2O8) to the reaction system improved the overall degradation rate significantly.The experimental results for the VUV-irradiated samples with the addition of methanol as a hydroxyl radical scavenger revealed that hydroxyl radicals contribute significantly to the elimination of the target compound. Overall, the degradation rate of the target compounds was in the order: VUV = UV-C > UV-A for sulfamethoxazole and VUV/H2O2 > VUV/ Na2S2O8 > VUV >UV-C >UV-A for trimethoprim.