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Whose Oxygen Atom Is Transferred to the Products? A Case Study of Peracetic Acid Activation via Complexed MnII for Organic Contaminant Degradation

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posted on 2023-04-12, 20:29 authored by Yingxu Gong, Jimin Shen, Linlu Shen, Shengxin Zhao, Yining Wu, Yanchi Zhou, Lei Cui, Jing Kang, Zhonglin Chen
Identifying reactive species in advanced oxidation process (AOP) is an essential and intriguing topic that is also challenging and requires continuous efforts. In this study, we exploited a novel AOP technology involving peracetic acid (PAA) activation mediated by a MnII–nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) complex, which outperformed iron- and cobalt-based PAA activation processes for rapidly degrading phenolic and aniline contaminants from water. The proposed MnII/NTA/PAA system exhibited non-radical oxidation features and could stoichiometrically oxidize sulfoxide probes to the corresponding sulfone products. More importantly, we traced the origin of O atoms from the sulfone products by 18O isotope-tracing experiments and found that PAA was the only oxygen-donor, which is different from the oxidation process mediated by high-valence manganese-oxo intermediates. According to the results of theoretical calculations, we proposed that NTA could tune the coordination circumstance of the MnII center to elongate the O–O bond of the complexed PAA. Additionally, the NTA-MnII-PAA* molecular cluster presented a lower energy gap than the MnII–PAA complex, indicating that the MnII–peroxy complex was more reactive in the presence of NTA. Thus, the NTA-MnII-PAA* complex exhibited a stronger oxidation potential than PAA, which could rapidly oxidize organic contaminants from water. Further, we generalized our findings to the CoII/PAA oxidation process and highlighted that the CoII–PAA* complex might be the overlooked reactive cobalt species. The significance of this work lies in discovering that sometimes the metal–peroxy complex could directly oxidize the contaminants without the further generation of high-valence metal-oxo intermediates and/or radical species through interspecies oxygen and/or electron transfer.

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