Electrochemical incineration of diclofenac in neutral aqueous medium by anodic oxidation using Pt and boron-doped diamond anodes

Enric Brillas, Sergi Garcia-Segura, Marcel Skoumal, Conchita Arias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


The degradation of diclofenac, a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, in aqueous medium has been studied by anodic oxidation (AO) using an undivided cell with a Pt or boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode. Operating without pH regulation, AO with Pt acidifies the solution with precipitation of its protonated form, whereas using BDD, the solution becomes alkaline and only attains partial mineralization. Total incineration of low contents of the drug is feasible by AO with BDD in a neutral buffer medium of pH 6.5. Comparative treatment with Pt gives poor decontamination. The diclofenac decay always follows a pseudo first-order reaction. The increase in current for AO with BDD accelerates the degradative process, but decreases its efficiency. 2-Hydroxyphenylacetic acid, 2,5-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, 2,6-dichloroaniline and 2,6-dichlorohydroquinone have been identified as aromatic intermediates. For AO with Pt, high amounts of malic, succinic, tartaric and oxalic acids are accumulated in the bulk and the N-derivatives produced are rapidly destroyed with loss of NH4+. When BDD is employed, some carboxylic acids are also accumulated in small extent, with a larger persistence of oxalic and oxamic acids. The process involves the formation of different N-derivatives that slowly release NH4+ and NO3- ions. Chloride ion is lost in all cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-612
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Boron-doped diamond
  • Diclofenac
  • Oxidation products
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Platinum
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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