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Chinese Scientists Developed New Technique to Deal With Antibiotics in Wastewater

Recently, Prof. HUANG Qing in collaborate with Anhui Huafeng Energy Saving & Environmental Science & Technology Co., Ltd developed a new technique based on low-temperature plasma (LTP) technique to treat the antibiotics in wastewater.

Wastewater from the pharmaceutical industry, aquaculture or hospitals contains a variety of refractory organics, bacteria/viruses, as well as antibiotics. The antibiotics in wastewater may pose potential threats and risks to human health as it can increase resistance to antibiotics and damage immune system in human body. Therefore, it is imminent to develop new green and efficient techniques that can remove antibiotics in wastewater.

HUANG’s group made a low-temperature oxygen-plasma (LTP) device to produce reactive gases to treat a quinolone antibiotic named norfloxacin. Also, they applied surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to analyze the degradation products so that they could study the efficiency and mechanism of degradation of norfloxacin.

They found that in the plasma discharge, the ozone generated by LTP can degrade norfloxacin efficiently, and the degradation of norfloxacin was mainly caused by defluorination reaction, also through the breaking carboxyl and quinolone groups in the molecule. The results have been published in the environmental research journal Chemosphere.

research expands the application of low-temperature plasma technology in the field of environmental protection. Relevant technology and equipment are also in the stage of market promotion.