Environmental science & technology

Intrinsic Chemiluminescence Generation during Advanced Oxidation of Persistent Halogenated Aromatic Carcinogens.

PMID 26009932


The ubiquitous distribution coupled with their carcinogenicity has raised public concerns on the potential risks to both human health and the ecosystem posed by the halogenated aromatic compounds (XAr). Recently, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) have been increasingly favored as an "environmentally-green" technology for the remediation of such recalcitrant and highly toxic XAr. Here, we show that AOPs-mediated degradation of the priority pollutant pentachlorophenol and all other XAr produces an intrinsic chemiluminescence that directly depends on the generation of the extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals. We propose that the hydroxyl radical-dependent formation of quinoid intermediates and electronically excited carbonyl species is responsible for this unusual chemiluminescence production. A rapid, sensitive, simple, and effective chemiluminescence method was developed to quantify trace amounts of XAr and monitor their real-time degradation kinetics. These findings may have broad biological and environmental implications for future research on this important class of halogenated persistent organic pollutants.