Ferrate(VI) assists in reducing cytotoxicity and genotoxicity to mammalian cells and organic bromine formation in ozonated wastewater

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Department of Chemistry


Ozonation of wastewater containing bromide (Br−) forms highly toxic organic bromine. The effectiveness of ozonation in mitigating wastewater toxicity is minimal. Simultaneous application of ozone (O3) (5 mg/L) and ferrate(VI) (Fe(VI)) (10 mg-Fe/L) reduced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity towards mammalian cells by 39.8% and 71.1% (pH 7.0), respectively, when the wastewater has low levels of Br−. This enhanced reduction in toxicity can be attributed to increased production of reactive iron species Fe(IV)/Fe(V) and reactive oxygen species (•OH) that possess higher oxidizing ability. When wastewater contains 2 mg/L Br−, ozonation increased cytotoxicity and genotoxicity by 168%-180% and 150%-155%, respectively, primarily due to the formation of organic bromine. However, O3/Fe(VI) significantly (p < 0.05) suppressed both total organic bromine (TOBr), BrO3−, as well as their associated toxicity. Electron donating capacity (EDC) measurement and precursor inference using Orbitrap ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry found that Fe(IV)/Fe(V) and •OH enhanced EDC removal from precursors present in wastewater, inhibiting electrophilic substitution and electrophilic addition reactions that lead to organic bromine formation. Additionally, HOBr quenched by self-decomposition-produced H2O2 from Fe(VI) also inhibits TOBr formation along with its associated toxicity. The adsorption of Fe(III) flocs resulting from Fe(VI) decomposition contributes only minimally to reducing toxicity. Compared to ozonation alone, integration of Fe(VI) with O3 offers improved safety for treating wastewater with varying concentrations of Br−.

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Water Research