Journal of hazardous materials

Persulfate activation by naturally occurring trace minerals.

PMID 21968122


The potential for 13 naturally occurring minerals to mediate the decomposition of persulfate and generate a range of reactive oxygen species was investigated to provide fundamental information on activation mechanisms when persulfate is used for in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO). Only four of the minerals (cobaltite, ilmenite, pyrite, and siderite) promoted the decomposition of persulfate more rapidly than persulfate-deionized water control systems. The other nine minerals decomposed persulfate at the same rate or more slowly than the control systems. Mineral-mediated persulfate activation was conducted with the addition of one of three probe compounds to detect the generation of reactive oxygen species: anisole (sulfate+hydroxyl radical), nitrobenzene (hydroxyl radical), and hexachloroethane (reductants and nucleophiles). The reduced mineral pyrite promoted rapid generation of sulfate+hydroxyl radical. However, the remainder of the minerals provided minimal potential for the generation of reactive oxygen species. The results of this research demonstrate that the majority of naturally occurring trace minerals do not activate persulfate to generate reactive oxygen species, and other mechanisms of activation are necessary to promote contaminant destruction in the subsurface during persulfate ISCO.