Increasing concern in recent years over the occurrence and fate of low-level concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment stimulates research on alternative treatment methods. This paper presents a study of the degradation of sulphamethoxazole, an antibiotic used on humans and animals in order to treat various bacterial infections, by ozonation. After 4.5 min of treatment, the concentration of sulphamethoxazole was below the HPLC detection limit of 0.6 mgL−1, indicating degradation efficiency higher than 99.24%. This value is comparable and in some cases higher than published data on the degradation in drinking water. Kinetic analysis of the data indicated an overall first-order reaction with a rate constant of 1.0594 min−1 at 20 °C. The reaction order differs with the second-order reaction observed by other researchers. This change of reaction order could be explained by the different treatment conditions used. Preliminary analysis using the FT-IR technique was also performed in order to obtain information on the structure of the degradation products. Further analysis using a GC-MS is needed in order to elucidate the structure of the degradation products. Finally, based on the experiments performed, ozonation seems to be a promising technique for the degradation of antibiotics, even in wastewater.

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