Degradation and antibiotic activity reduction of chloramphenicol in aqueous solution by UV/H2O2 process

Antonio Zuorro, Marco Fidaleo, Marcello Fidaleo, Roberto Lavecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficacy of the UV/H2O2 process to degrade the antibiotic chloramphenicol (CHL) was investigated at 20°C using a low-pressure mercury lamp as UV source. A preliminary analysis of CHL degradation showed that the process followed apparent first-order kinetics and that an optimum H2O2 concentration existed for the degradation rate. The first-order rate constant was used as the response variable and its dependence on initial CHL and H2O2 concentrations, UV light intensity and reaction time was investigated by a central composite design based on the response surface methodology. Analysis of response surface plots revealed a large positive effect of radiation intensity, a negative effect of CHL concentration and that there was a region of H2O2 concentration leading to maximum CHL degradation. CHL solutions submitted to the UV/H2O2 process were characterized by TOC and their activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus was assessed. No residual antibiotic activity was detected, even at CHL concentrations higher than those used in the designed experiments. Overall, the obtained results strongly support the possibility of reducing the risks associated with the release of CHL into the environment, including the spread of antibiotic resistance, by the UV/H2O2 process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2014


  • Antibiotic
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Degradation
  • Response surface methodology
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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