Removing acesulfame with the peroxone process: Transformation products, pathways and toxicity

Chi Hang Chow, Kelvin S Y LEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging contaminants (ECs) are receiving considerable attention because of their widespread occurrence, persistence and potential threat to the environment, wildlife and humans. Acesulfame (ACE), an extensively used artificial sweetener, is the most worrisome example of ECs. The photolysis/photocatalysis, chlorination and/or permanganate oxidation of ACE produces transformation products (TPs) that are more persistent and toxic than precursors. Thus, an alternative treatment method to treat ACE is required; oxidation by the peroxone process could be that method and was systematically investigated, as reported here. During the peroxone process, ACE degradation followed pseudo-first-order kinetics, with a rate that was significantly higher than after conventional ozonation. The hydroxyl radical was the major reactive species. Amount of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) used, pH and type of water matrix showed significant influence on ACE degradation. Fifteen TPs in ultrapure water extracts, including four newly reported compounds, were identified and characterized by high resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) based on accurate mass measurements and MS/MS fragmentation. The reduced toxicity compared to other reported treatments of ACE was likely due to different transformation pathways and TPs generated. The peroxone process therefore appears to be one viable choice for safe removal of ACE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-655
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

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

User-Defined Keywords

  • Acesulfame
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Ozonation
  • Peroxone
  • Transformation products


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