Degradation of ampicillin antibiotic by electrochemical processes: evaluation of antimicrobial activity of treated water

Jorge Vidal, Cesar Huiliñir, Rocío Santander, Javier Silva-Agredo, Ricardo A. Torres-Palma, Ricardo Salazar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Ampicillin (AMP) is an antibiotic widely used in hospitals and veterinary clinics around the world for treating infections caused by bacteria. Therefore, it is common to find traces of this antibiotic in wastewater from these entities. In this work, we studied the mineralization of this antibiotic in solution as well as the elimination of its antimicrobial activity by comparing different electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs), namely electro-oxidation with hydrogen peroxide (EO-H 2 O 2 ), electro-Fenton (EF), and photo electro-Fenton (PEF). With PEF process, a high degradation, mineralization, and complete elimination of antimicrobial activity were achieved in 120-min electrolysis with high efficiency. In the PEF process, fast mineralization rate is caused by hydroxyl radicals (·OH) that are generated in the bulk, on the anode surface, by UV radiation, and most importantly, by the direct photolysis of complexes formed between Fe 3+ and some organic intermediates. Moreover, some products and intermediates formed during the degradation of the antibiotic Ampicillin, such as inorganic ions, carboxylic acids, and aromatic compounds, were determined by photometric and chromatographic methods. An oxidation pathway is proposed for the complete conversion to CO 2 .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4404-4414
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Degradation of ampicillin, antimicrobial activity decay
  • Mineralization
  • Photoelectro-Fenton process, hydroxyl radical


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