Heterogeneous Fenton catalysts: A review of recent advances

Nishanth Thomas, Dionysios D. Dionysiou, Suresh C. Pillai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

335 Citations (Scopus)


Heterogeneous Fenton catalysts are emerging as excellent materials for applications related to water purification. In this review, recent trends in the synthesis and application of heterogeneous Fenton catalysts for the abatement of organic pollutants and disinfection of microorganisms are discussed. It is noted that as the complexity of cell wall increases, the resistance level towards various disinfectants increases and it requires either harsh conditions or longer exposure time for the complete disinfection. In case of viruses, enveloped viruses (e.g. SARS-CoV-2) are found to be more susceptible to disinfectants than the non-enveloped viruses. The introduction of plasmonic materials with the Fenton catalysts broadens the visible light absorption efficiency of the hybrid material, and incorporation of semiconductor material improves the rate of regeneration of Fe(II) from Fe(III). A special emphasis is given to the use of Fenton catalysts for antibacterial applications. Composite materials of magnetite and ferrites remain a champion in this area because of their easy separation and reuse, owing to their magnetic properties. Iron minerals supported on clay materials, perovskites, carbon materials, zeolites and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) dramatically increase the catalytic degradation rate of contaminants by providing high surface area, good mechanical stability, and improved electron transfer. Moreover, insights to the zero-valent iron and its capacity to remove a wide range of organic pollutants, heavy metals and bacterial contamination are also discussed. Real world applications and the role of natural organic matter are summarised. Parameter optimisation (e.g. light source, dosage of catalyst, concentration of H2O2 etc.), sustainable models for the reusability or recyclability of the catalyst and the theoretical understanding and mechanistic aspects of the photo-Fenton process are also explained. Additionally, this review summarises the opportunities and future directions of research in the heterogeneous Fenton catalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124082
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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