UV-C, H2O2/UV-C, Fenton and photo-Fenton treatment of a nonylphenol polyethoxylate (NP-10) were comparatively studied, primarily focusing on the acute toxicity of degradation products. Formic, acetic and oxalic acids were all identified as the degradation products of NP-10; however, the sole common carboxylic acid was found to be formic acid for the studied treatment processes. The percent relative inhibition towards Vibrio fischeri increased from 9% to 33% and 24% after 120 min-UV-C and H2O2/UV-C treatment, respectively. Complete NP-10 and 70% of its total organic carbon (TOC) content was removed by the photo-Fenton process, which ensured the fastest removal rates and lowest inhibitory effect (8% after 120 min treatment). The acute toxicity pattern being observed during H2O2/UV-C and photo-Fenton treatment positively correlated with temporal evolution of the identified carboxylic acids, whereas unidentified oxidation products were the most likely origin of the acute toxicity in UV-C photolysis.

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