The residuals of drugs can be persistent in the environment for a very long period. This means that their biological degradation (mineralization) takes place very slowly. High stability of these organic compounds is a consequence of their complex structure. To enhance their degradation, we therefore propose advanced chemical oxidation processes. The use of advanced oxidation processes can result in:
- Complete degradation of complex molecules (into CO2 and H2O),
- Their easier further biological degradability by partial degradation of the complex molecules on smaller parts,
- Reduction of their toxicity with partial degradation of complex molecules on smaller ones.
Degradation of substances in advanced oxidation processes usually takes place based on the formation and use of hydroxyl radicals (HO•), as well as other reactive forms of oxygen (O•, HO2•, O3, H2O2). The formation of free radicals can be achieved with the use of technologies, which combine ozone, UV, hydrogen peroxide, ultrasound, electrocavitation, photocatalysis, nonthermal plasma, etc.
Formation of hydroxyl radicals from water with the help of electric energy.
Recently, a recognition is gaining the use of electrolytic cells with different electrode materials. They enable the formation of HO• radicals directly from water with the help of electric power. In the case of wastewater treatment, HO• radicals are formed directly from wastewater.
Within the LIFE PhamDegrade project, the company ARHEL will test the performance of electrolytic cells with different electrode materials, first in a laboratory scale. A degradation efficiency of individual pharmaceuticals in different working conditions will be evaluated in cooperation with the Faculty of Pharmacy and their Department for Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics.