Ozonation of oxytetracycline and toxicological assessment of its oxidation by-products

Kuixiao Li, Ayfer Yediler*, Min Yang, Sigurd Schulte-Hostede, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)


Antibiotic formulation effluents are well known for their difficult elimination by traditional bio-treatment methods and their important contribution to environmental pollution due to its fluctuating and recalcitrant nature. In the present study the effect of ozonation on the degradation of oxytetracycline (OTC) aqueous solution (100 mg l-1) at different pH values (3, 7 and 11) was investigated. Ozone (11 mg l-1 corresponds the concentration of ozone in gas phase) was chosen considering its rapid reaction and decomposition rate. The concentration of oxytetracycline, chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and BOD5/COD ratio were the parameters to evaluate the efficiency of the ozonation process. In addition, the toxic potential of the OTC degradation was investigated by the bioluminescence test using the LUMIStox 300 instrument and results were expressed as the percentage inhibition of the luminescence of the marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri. The results demonstrate that ozonation as a partial step of a combined treatment concept is a potential technique for biodegradability enhancement of effluents from pharmaceutical industries containing high concentration of oxytetracycline provided that the appropriate ozonation period is selected. At pH 11 and after 60 min of ozonation of oxytetracycline aqueous solutions (100 and 200 mg l-1) the BOD5/COD ratios were 0.69 and 0.52, respectively. It was also shown that COD removal rates increase with increasing pH as a consequence of enhanced ozone decomposition rates at elevated pH values. The results of bioluminescence data indicate that first by-products after partial ozonation (5-30 min) of OTC were more toxic than the parent compound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Biodegradability
  • Bioluminescence test
  • COD
  • Oxytetracycline
  • Ozonation
  • Vibrio fischeri


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