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The photodegradation and biotic transformation of the pharmaceuticals lidocaine (LDC), tramadol (TRA) and venlafaxine (VEN), and of the metabolites O-desmethyltramadol (ODT) and O-desmethylvenlafaxine (ODV) in the aquatic environmental have been investigated. Photodegradation experiments were carried out using a medium pressure Hg lamp (laboratory experiments) and natural sunlight (field experiments). Degradation of the target compounds followed a first-order kinetic model. Rates of direct photodegradation (light absorption by the compounds itself) at pH 6.9 were very low for all of the target analytes (≤0.0059 h(-1) using a Hg lamp and ≤0.0027 h(-1) using natural sunlight), while rates of indirect photodegradation (degradation of the compounds through photosensitizers) in river water at pH 7.5 were approximately 59 (LDC), 5 (TRA), 8 (VEN), 15 (ODT) and 13 times (ODV) higher than the rates obtained from the experiments in ultrapure water. The accelerated photodegradation of the target compounds in natural water is attributed mainly to the formation of hydroxyl radicals through photochemical reactions. Biotic (microbial) degradation of the target compounds in surface water has been shown to occur at very low rates (≤0.00029 h(-1)). The half-life times determined from the field experiments were 31 (LDC), 73 (TRA), 51 (VEN), 21 (ODT) and 18h (ODV) considering all possible mechanisms of degradation for the target compounds in river water (direct photodegradation, indirect photodegradation and biotic degradation). Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Paola C Rúa-Gómez, Wilhelm Püttmann. Degradation of lidocaine, tramadol, venlafaxine and the metabolites O-desmethyltramadol and O-desmethylvenlafaxine in surface waters. Chemosphere. 2013 Feb;90(6):1952-9

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PMID: 23159069

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