Abatement of amoxicillin and doxycycline in binary and ternary aqueous solutions by gas-phase pulsed corona discharge oxidation

Alexander Sokolov*, Matilda Kråkström, Patrik Eklund, Leif Kronberg, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
190 Downloads (Pure)


The presence of pharmaceutical compound residues in water bodies is becoming an increasingly serious problem. Various pharmaceuticals have been detected in raw municipal wastewaters, after wastewater treatment plant processes, and even in drinking water. Many common pharmaceuticals are bio-accumulating and they can have a harmful impact on aquatic and terrestrial organisms. In this work, pulsed corona discharge technology (PCD) is studied as a potential method for antibiotic compounds abatement. Two antibiotics, amoxicillin and doxycycline, were chosen as test pharmaceutical compounds. The aim of the study was to investigate the transformation kinetics of binary solutions (water – single antibiotic compound) and ternary solutions (water – two antibiotic compounds) of the compounds and to optimize operational parameters for improved oxidation performance. Ternary solutions were investigated to obtain data on transformation kinetics when two competing pharmaceutical molecules are present in the solution. The experiments showed that reactions of doxycycline oxidation are always first order reactions. Reaction of amoxicillin oxidation has second order in the case of experiments with binary solution in alkaline medium. In other cases, it has first order. The transformation products formed were identified and monitored based on liquid chromatography mass spectrometer analysis. OH-amoxicillin, amoxicillin pencilloic acid, OH-doxycycline and 2-OH-doxycycline had the largest peaks areas. All studied compounds and all transformation products can be easily oxidized by PCD. Approximately 1 kWh/m3 and 0.5 kWh/m3 delivered energy is enough for oxidation of great part of amoxicillin and doxycycline respectively. Low frequency, 50 pps, and high (pH = 12) are preferable for oxidation of both antibiotics from the energy consumption point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-681
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • AOPs
  • Cold plasma
  • Ozone
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Wastewater treatment


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