Curbing chlorine disinfection byproduct formation with a biomimetic iron oxidation catalyst

29 June 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We demonstrate, by bench-scale chlorination of local tap water containing phenol (16 M, 1.5 ppm) as a model organic micropollutant, that the [Fe(TAML)]– catalyst (TAML = tetra amido macrocyclic ligand) increases the rate of phenol decomposition and suppresses the build-up of chlorophenol disinfection byproducts. Specifically, significantly lower concentrations of trihalomethanes (1.0–2.1 ppb) were formed in the presence of [Fe(TAML)]– compared to those formed in the absence of the catalyst (39–78 ppb). Hydrophobic disinfection byproducts (1–2000 ppb) were monitored in real-time and without any sample preparation using membrane inlet mass spectrometry. This work encourages the incorporation of biomimetic iron catalysts into existing chlorine disinfection processes to harness the oxidative power of chlorine through oxygen- or hydrogen-atom transfer reactions instead of the problematic halogenation reactions which yield disinfection byproducts.


Water Treatment
Disinfection Byproducts
Advanced Oxidation Processes

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information for "Curbing chlorine disinfection byproduct formation with a biomimetic iron oxidation catalyst"
Detailed descriptions of data calibrations and processing protocols, all calibrated MIMS traces, and kinetic analyses are included in the Supporting Information


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