Multiple Roles of Dissolved Organic Matter in Advanced Oxidation Processes

Xin Yang, Fernando L. Rosario-Ortiz, Yu Lei, Yanheng Pan, Xin Lei, Paul Westerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) can degrade a wide range of trace organic contaminants (TrOCs) to improve the quality of potable water or discharged wastewater effluents. Their effectiveness is impacted, however, by the dissolved organic matter (DOM) that is ubiquitous in all water sources. During the application of an AOP, DOM can scavenge radicals and/or block light penetration, therefore impacting their effectiveness toward contaminant transformation. The multiple ways in which different types or sources of DOM can impact oxidative water purification processes are critically reviewed. DOM can inhibit the degradation of TrOCs, but it can also enhance the formation and reactivity of useful radicals for contaminants elimination and alter the transformation pathways of contaminants. An in-depth analysis highlights the inhibitory effect of DOM on the degradation efficiency of TrOCs based on DOM's structure and optical properties and its reactivity toward oxidants as well as the synergistic contribution of DOM to the transformation of TrOCs from the analysis of DOM's redox properties and DOM's transient intermediates. AOPs can alter DOM structure properties as well as and influence types, mechanisms, and extent of oxidation byproducts formation. Research needs are proposed to advance practical understanding of how DOM can be exploited to improve oxidative water purification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11111-11131
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 16 2022


  • advanced oxidation
  • complex water matrices
  • radicals
  • trace organic contaminants
  • water and wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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