5-amino-6-methyl-2-benzimidazolone (AMBI), used in the manufacture of dyes, was characterised as a biorecalcitrant compound by means of different biodegradability tests. In order to enhance the biodegradability of this important pollutant, the application of Advanced Oxidation Process (AOPs) as a pre-treatment was explored. Some experiments were addressed to find the most efficient AOP. The systems H2O2/hv, TiO2/H2O2/hv, Fe3+/hv, Fe3+/H2O2 and Fe3+/H2O2/hv were compared. The photo-Fenton system was the most efficient and the optimal conditions (AMBI, Fe3+, H2O2 concentrations) for the degradation of AMBI were found. During the photo-Fenton degradation, experiments were also made to obtain information concerning the evolution of: (a) organic carbon and initial compound concentration; (b) the oxidation state; (c) the toxicity; (d) the biodegradability; and (e) the chemical nature of the intermediates. These analyses show that the solution resulting from the treatment of AMBI is biologically compatible and complete mineralisation can be performed by biological means. A combined photochemical (Fenton) and biological flow reactor for the degradation of AMBI was successfully operated in continuous mode at laboratory scale. 100% of the initial concentration of AMBI and 80.3% of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) were removed in 3.5 hours of total residence time. Finally, some field experiments under direct sunlight carried out at the Plataforma Solar de Almeria, Spain, demonstrated that this solar catalytic system is an effective treatment for this kind of industrial wastewater.

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