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Title: Photocatalytic degradation of cyanobacterial microcystin toxins in water
Authors: Shephard, Gordon Seymour 
Stockenström, Sonja 
De Villiers, D. 
Engelbrecht, W. J 
Sydenham, Eric W. 
Wessels, G. F.S. 
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Toxicon 
Abstract: The microcystins are hepatotoxins produced by a number of cyanobacterial species (blue–green algae) in fresh water systems. The increasing eutrophication of natural waters has led to an increase in the incidence of algal blooms and the consequent increased risk of microcystin contamination of water resources. The removal of microcystins LR, YR and YA from contaminated water was investigated using an experimental laboratory-scale photocatalytic `falling film' reactor in which an oxygen purge, UV radiation and semiconductor titanium dioxide (TiO2) catalyst were used to oxidatively decompose the microcystin pollutants. Preliminary studies, using algal extracts spiked into distilled water, indicated that the microcystins were rapidly decomposed in this reactor. The decomposition followed first order reaction kinetics with half-lives of less than 5 min with the reactor operating in a closed-loop mode. Reaction rates were strongly dependent on the amount of TiO2 catalyst (0–5 g/l), but only marginally influenced by a change in gas purge from oxygen to compressed air. The use of lake water, rather than distilled water, showed that this process is feasible in natural waters, although increased levels of catalyst (up to 5 g/l) were required to achieve comparable decomposition rates.
Description: Journal article
ISSN: 1879-3150
Appears in Collections:HWSci - Journal Articles (DHET subsidised)

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