Removal of Pharmaceutical Residues from Water and Wastewater Using Dielectric Barrier Discharge Methods-A Review.


Massima Mouele ES(1)(2), Tijani JO(1)(3), Badmus KO(1), Pereao O(1), Babajide O(1)(4), Zhang C(5), Shao T(5), Sosnin E(6), Tarasenko V(6), Fatoba OO(1), Laatikainen K(2), Petrik LF(1).
Author information:
(1)Environmental Nano Science Research Group, Department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Cape Town 7535, South Africa.
(2)Department of Separation Science, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851 Lappeenranta, Finland.
(3)Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Technology, PMB 65, P.O. Box 920 Minna, Niger State 920001, Nigeria.
(4)Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, P.O. Box 1906, Bellville 7535, South Africa.
(5)Beijing International S&T Cooperation Base for Plasma Science, Energy Conversion, Institute of Electrical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.
(6)Institute of High Current Electronics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 634055 Tomsk, Russia.


Persistent pharmaceutical pollutants (PPPs) have been identified as potential endocrine disruptors that mimic growth hormones when consumed at nanogram per litre to microgram per litre concentrations. Their occurrence in potable water remains a great threat to human health. Different conventional technologies developed for their removal from wastewater have failed to achieve complete mineralisation. Advanced oxidation technologies such as dielectric barrier discharges (DBDs) based on free radical mechanisms have been identified to completely decompose PPPs. Due to the existence of pharmaceuticals as mixtures in wastewater and the recalcitrance of their degradation intermediate by-products, no single advanced oxidation technology has been able to eliminate pharmaceutical xenobiotics. This review paper provides an update on the sources, occurrence, and types of pharmaceuticals in wastewater by emphasising different DBD configurations previously and currently utilised for pharmaceuticals degradation under different experimental conditions. The performance of the DBD geometries was evaluated considering various factors including treatment time, initial concentration, half-life time, degradation efficiency and the energy yield (G50) required to degrade half of the pollutant concentration. The review showed that the efficacy of the DBD systems on the removal of pharmaceutical compounds depends not only on these parameters but also on the nature/type of the pollutant.