Quaternary magnetic BiOCl/g-C3N4/Cu2O/Fe3O4 nano-junction for visible light and solar powered degradation of sulfamethoxazole from aqueous environment

Ajay Kumar, Amit Kumar*, Gaurav Sharma, Ala'a H. Al-Muhtaseb, Mu Naushad, Ayman A. Ghfar, Florian J. Stadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

296 Citations (Scopus)


Novel magnetic quaternary BiOCl/g-C3N4/Cu2O/Fe3O4 (BGC-F) nano-heterojunction with excellent photocatalytic activity was prepared by facile co-precipitation method. The visible photodegradation activity of the junction was analyzed for sulfamethoxazole (SME) as target pollutant. BGC-F with a dosage of 0.2 g L−1 exhibits high photocatalytic activity with 99.5% of SME (100 µM) degraded in 60 min under visible (Xe) lamp and 92.1% in 120 min under natural sunlight. The activity of quaternary junction was found to be 7.2, 6.8 and 4.2-fold higher as compared to C3N4/BiOCl/Fe3O4, Cu2O/BiOCl/Fe3O4 and Cu2O/BiOCl/C3N4 junctions respectively. Formation of an effective p-n-p junction (BiOCl-C3N4-Cu2O) leads to shifting of energy bands and rising of an in-built electric field and charge separation. The effect of parameters as pH, catalysts loading amount, NO3 and HCO3 have been studied. The [rad]O2 and [rad]OH was found to be major reactive species identified by scavenging experiments and the band gap structure analysis The results for mineralization were analyzed in terms of Liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy (LC-MS), total organic carbon (TOC) removal and chemical oxygen demand (COD). 41.6% of TOC was removed in 3 h experiment under Xe lamp exposure. The drug degradation was also confirmed by testing activity on E. coli and cyto-toxicity on human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). Only 2.1 mm zone of inhibition was observed for E. coli in case of exposure to SME degraded products while for pure SME it was 18.1 mm hinting complete mineralization. In addition 99% cell viability was observed for PBL cells treated with degraded products of SME. Furthermore, BGC-F exhibited good reusability after magnetic separation and regeneration, rendering it a promising multi-functional catalyst with active use of advanced oxidation processes for treating pharmaceutical waste water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-478
Number of pages17
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2018


  • Cyto-toxicity
  • g-CN
  • Hetero-junction
  • Photo-degradation
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Visible light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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