Journal of hazardous materials

Photocatalytic dechlorination of PCB 138 using leuco-methylene blue and visible light; reaction conditions and mechanisms.

PMID 20542375


A study of dechlorination of PCB 138, under visible light employing methylene blue (MB) and triethylamine (TEA) in acetonitrile/water has been conducted to investigate the details of the mechanism of dechlorination and to determine the efficiency of the process for this representative congener. Two other amines, N-methyldiethanolamine (MEDA) and (triethanolamine) TEOA also replaced TEA and two other solvents, methanol and ethanol replacing acetonitrile were examined for effects on reaction rates. The results show that PCB 138 can be dechlorinated efficiently in this photocatalytic reaction. Clarifying ambiguities in several previous reports, the reduced form of MB, leuco-methylene blue (LMB) was identified as responsible for the photoreaction with its excited state transferring an electron to PCBs; oxidized LMB (i.e. MB) is reduced back to LMB by the excess amine present. The reaction depends on a cycle driven by the amine as a sacrificial electron donor. MEDA proved to be the most efficient electron donor; apparently in consequence of the most favourable steady state concentration of LMB. Methanol and ethanol may be used to replace acetonitrile with little change in the efficiency of the reaction.