Environmental science & technology

Enhanced Photoreduction of Nitro-aromatic Compounds by Hydrated Electrons Derived from Indole on Natural Montmorillonite.

PMID 26029791


A new photoreduction pathway for nitro-aromatic compounds (NACs) and the underlying degradation mechanism are described. 1,3-Dinitrobenzene was reduced to 3-nitroaniline by the widely distributed aromatic molecule indole; the reaction is facilitated by montmorillonite clay mineral under both simulated and natural sunlight irradiation. The novel chemical reaction is strongly affected by the type of exchangeable cation present on montmorillonite. The photoreduction reaction is initiated by the adsorption of 1,3-dinitrobenzene and indole in clay interlayers. Under light irradiation, the excited indole molecule generates a hydrated electron and the indole radical cation. The structural negative charge of montmorillonite plausibly stabilizes the radical cation hence preventing charge recombination. This promotes the release of reactive hydrated electrons for further reductive reactions. Similar results were observed for the photoreduction of nitrobenzene. In situ irradiation time-resolved electron paramagnetic resonance and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopies provided direct evidence for the generation of hydrated electrons and the indole radical cations, which supported the proposed degradation mechanism. In the photoreduction process, the role of clay mineral is to both enhance the generation of hydrated electrons and to provide a constrained reaction environment in the galley regions, which increases the probability of contact between NACs and hydrated electrons.

Related Materials