UV photolysis of diclofenac in water; kinetics, degradation pathway and environmental aspects

Marin Kovacic, Daria Juretic Perisic, Martina Biosic, Hrvoje Kusic, Sandra Babic, Ana Loncaric Bozic
Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2016, 23 (15): 14908-17
In this study, the photolysis behavior of commonly used anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac (DCF) was investigated using UV-C and UV-A irradiation. In that purpose, DCF conversion kinetics, mineralization of organic content, biodegradability, and toxicity were monitored and compared. The results showed different kinetics of DCF conversion regarding the type of UV source applied. However, in both cases, the mineralization extent reached upon complete DCF conversion is rather low (≤10 %), suggesting that the majority of DCF was transformed into by-products. Formation/degradation of main degradation by-products was monitored using high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS), whereas different profiles were obtained by UV-C and UV-A photolysis. The results of bioassays revealed that biodegradability of DCF solutions remained low through the applied treatments. The toxicity of irradiated DCF solutions was evaluated using Vibrio fischeri. A significant reduction of toxicity, especially in the case of UV-A radiation, was observed upon complete degradation of DCF. In addition to toxicity reduction, calculated Log K OW values of DCF degradation by-products indicate their low potential for bioaccumulation (Log K OW ≤ 3) in comparison to the parent substance.

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