Substrate-immobilized electrospun TiO2 nanofibers for photocatalytic degradation of pharmaceuticals: The effects of pH and dissolved organic matter characteristics

Sung Kyu Maeng, Kangwoo Cho, Boyoung Jeong, Jaesang Lee, Yunho Lee, Changha Lee, Kyoung Jin Choi, Seok Won Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


A substrate-immobilized (SI) TiO2 nanofiber (NF) photocatalyst for multiple uses was prepared through electrospinning and hot pressing. The rate of furfuryl alcohol degradation under UV irradiation was found to be the highest when the anatase to rutile ratio was 70:30; the rate did not linearly increase as a function of the NF film thickness, mainly due to diffusion limitation. Even after eight repeated cycles, it showed only a marginal reduction in the photocatalytic activity for the degradation of cimetidine. The effects of pH and different organic matter characteristics on the photodegradation of cimetidine (CMT), propranolol (PRP), and carbamazepine (CBZ) were investigated. The pH-dependence of the photocatalytic degradation rates of PRP was explained by electrostatic interactions between the selected compounds and the surface of TiO2 NFs. The degradation rates of CMT showed the following order: deionized water > l-tyrosine > secondary wastewater effluent (effluent organic matter) > Suwannee River natural organic matter, demonstrating that the characteristics of the dissolved organic matter (DOM) can affect the photodegradation of CMT. Photodegradation of CBZ was affected by the presence of DOM, and no significant change was observed between different DOM characteristics. These findings suggest that the removal of CMT, PRP, and CBZ during photocatalytic oxidation using SI TiO2 NFs is affected by the presence of DOM and/or pH, which should be importantly considered for practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) institutional program ( 2E25312 ) and in part by the KIST-UNIST partnership program ( 2.140442.01 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Organic matter characteristics
  • PH
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Photocatalytic oxidation
  • Substrate-immobilized TiO nanofibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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