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Is Sulfate Radical Really Generated from Peroxydisulfate Activated by Iron(II) for Environmental Decontamination?

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journal contribution
posted on 12.09.2018, 18:37 authored by Zhen Wang, Jin Jiang, Suyan Pang, Yang Zhou, Chaoting Guan, Yuan Gao, Juan Li, Yi Yang, Wei Qiu, Chengchun Jiang
It is well documented that the traditional Fenton reagent (i.e., the combination of Fe­(II) and H2O2) produces hydroxyl radical (OH) under acidic conditions, while at near-neutral pH the reactive intermediate converts to ferryl ion (Fe­(IV)) that can oxidize sulfoxides to produce corresponding sulfones, markedly differing from their OH-induced products. However, it remains unclear whether Fe­(IV) is generated in the Fe­(II) activated peroxydisulfate (PDS) process, where sulfate radical (SO4•–) is long recognized as the dominant intermediate in literature. Here we demonstrated that SO4•– oxidized methyl phenyl sulfoxide (PMSO, a model sulfoxide) to produce biphenyl compounds rather than methyl phenyl sulfone (PMSO2). Interestingly, the formation of PMSO2 was observed when PMSO was treated by the Fe­(II)/PDS system over a wide pH range, and the yields of PMSO2 were quantified to be ∼100% at acidic pH 3–5. The identification of Fe­(IV) in the Fe­(II)/PDS system could also reasonably explain the literature results on alcohol scavenging effect and ESR spectra analysis. Further, a Fe­(IV)-based kinetic model was shown to accurately simulate the experimental data. This work urges re-evaluation of the Fe­(II)/PDS system for environmental decontamination, given that Fe­(IV) would have different reactivity toward environmental contaminants compared with SO4•– and/or OH.