Recently, the research group led by Prof. HUANG Qing from Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences proposed a novel approach to treat antibiotics by using low-temperature plasma technology.
The research results have been published in Journal of Hazardous Materials.
The development of economy has led to an increase in the production and usage of antibiotics. The treatment of antibiotics in wastewater has become an urgent practical problem that requires immediate attention. Developing effective methods to remove antibiotics from wastewater is crucial to preserve both the environment and human health.
In this research, they treated antibiotic mixtures using cold atmospheric plasma jet (CAPJ) in combination with plasma-activated water (PAW).
By utilizing this method, the efficiency of treating mixed antibiotics was found to be higher than that of single antibiotics under appropriate conditions. For instance, when plasma was used to decompose chloramphenicol, active chlorine was produced which enhanced the treatment efficiency of norfloxacin.
Furher research confirmed the significant role of ·OH and 1O2 in norfloxacin and chloramphenicol degradation when studying the impact of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (RONS) produced by plasma.
They also examined the potential side effects of plasma-treated antibiotics treated and found that the resulting degradation products were ecologically safe.
Prof. Huang's group have been working on the develepment of plasma technology and its application in the treatment of antibiotics in the environment for years. This study further provided a solid foundation for implementing plasma technology in the treatment of wastewater contaminated with various antibiotics, offering a promising solution for tackling antibiotic pollution in the environment.
Schematic diagram of the experimental set-ups for treatment of norfloxacin/ chloramphenicol in water. (Image by FANG Cao)
Removal of norfloxacin/chloramphenicol by CAPJ with different working gases. (Image by FANG Cao)