The reactions of peroxyl radicals occupy a central role in oxidative degradation. Under the term Advanced Oxidation Processes in drinking-water and wastewater processing, procedures are summarized that are based on the formation and high reactivity of the OH radical. These react with organic matter (DOC). With O2, the resulting carbon-centered radicals O2 give rise to the corresponding peroxyl radicals. This reaction is irreversible in most cases. An exception is hydroxycyclohexadienyl radicals which are formed from aromatic compounds, where reversibility is observed even at room temperature. Peroxyl radicals with strongly electron-donating substituents eliminate O2.−, those with an OH-group in a-position HO2.. Otherwise organic peroxyl radicals decay bimolecularly. The tetroxides formed in the first step are very short-lived intermediates and decay by various pathways, leading to molecular products (alcohols, ketones, esters and acids, depending on the precursor), or to oxyl radicals, which either fragment by scission of a neighbouring C-C bond or, when they carry an a-hydrogen, undergo a (water-assisted) 1,2-H-shift.

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