The degradation by UV and UV/H2O2 treatments of the pharmaceutical intermediate 5-methyl-1,3,4-thiadiazole-2-methylthiol (MMTD-Me) has been investigated and compared to that of its parent compound [5-methyl-1,3,4-thiadiazole-2-thiol (MMTD)] previously studied. The investigation has been carried out with a 17 W low pressure mercury lamp, at room temperature, with an initial MMTD-Me concentration of 1 mg/l and with a molar ratio H2O2/substrate of 100/1. The results show that: (i) the complete MMTD-Me removal is achieved within 60 and 20 minutes by UV and UV/H2O2 treatment respectively; (ii) the UV only irradiation does not cause any MMTD-Me mineralization; (iii) the UV/H2O2 treatment, after 4 hours, leads to a complete mineralization of MMTD-Me organic sulfur and to a partial mineralization of carbon and nitrogen (79 and 16% respectively). Degradation by-products identification, performed by HPLC-UV-MS, revealed that the UV only irradiation gives rise to the sequential transformation of MMTD-Me into two by-products one of which, the last one, accumulates in the solution. Conversely, the UV/H2O2 treatment leads to the formation of two intermediate by-products that undergo further degradation with the breakdown of the thiadiazole ring. These results confirm the effectiveness of UV based processes, alone or in combination with H2O2, in degrading pharmaceutical intermediates.

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