Combining solar irradiation with chlorination enhances the photochemical decomposition of microcystin-LR.


School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation Technology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) generated by cyanobacteria is a potent toxin threatening human health. In this study the kinetics and mechanisms of MC-LR elimination from drinking water under solar irradiation with free chlorine (the solar/chlorine process) was evaluated. The rate of MC-LR degradation was dramatically enhanced in the solar/chlorine process (1.1 × 10-2 s-1) compared with chlorination alone (2.6 × 10-3 s-1) or solar irradiation alone (1.2 × 10-4 s-1) with a free chlorine dose of 42 μM (3.0 mg L-1 as Cl2). The enhancement was due to the presence of hydroxyl radicals, reactive chlorine species (RCS), and ozone during free chlorine photolysis. The second-order rate constants of Cl • and Cl2•- reacting with MC-LR were determined to be (2.25 ± 0.07) × 1010 and (5.58 ± 0.42) × 107 M-1s-1, respectively. Cl • was the major RCS contributing to MC-LR elimination. The highest MC-LR degradation rate was observed at pH 8.0. Free chlorine, HO •, Cl • and O3 together accounted for almost 95% of the MC-LR elimination. Hydroxyl- and chloro-MC-LR were generated in the process, followed by dechlorination, dehydration and cleavage of cyclic structures in MC-LR. Aldehyde- and ketone-MC-LR byproducts were also observed. The destruction of dienes led to a great reduction in MC-LR's toxicity. MC-LR removal in natural water samples under natural sunlight irradiation with free chlorine was demonstrated with limited formation of disinfection byproducts. The solar/chlorine process is an energy-efficient approach for MC-LR control, especially suitable for rural areas or where algal blooming threatens.


Chlorination,Microcystin-LR,Reactive chlorine species,Solar water purification,Toxicity,Water treatment,