Treatment of organic pollutants by homogeneous and heterogeneous Fenton reaction processes

Bhawana Jain, Ajaya Kumar Singh, Hyunook Kim, Eric Lichtfouse, Virender K. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

274 Scopus citations


Nowadays, the water ecosystem is being polluted due to the rapid industrialization and massive use of antibiotics, fertilizers, cosmetics, paints, and other chemicals. Chemical oxidation is one of the most applied processes to degrade contaminants in water. However, chemicals are often unable to completely mineralize the pollutants. Enhanced pollutant degradation can be achieved by Fenton reaction and related processes. As a consequence, Fenton reactions have received great attention in the treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater effluents. Currently, homogeneous and heterogeneous Fenton processes are being investigated intensively and optimized for applications, either alone or in a combination of other processes. This review presents fundamental chemistry involved in various kinds of homogeneous Fenton reactions, which include classical Fenton, electro-Fenton, photo-Fenton, electro-Fenton, sono-electro-Fenton, and solar photoelectron-Fenton. In the homogeneous Fenton reaction process, the molar ratio of iron(II) and hydrogen peroxide, and the pH usually determine the effectiveness of removing target pollutants and subsequently their mineralization, monitored by a decrease in levels of total organic carbon or chemical oxygen demand. We present catalysts used in heterogeneous Fenton or Fenton-like reactions, such as H2O2–Fe3+(solid)/nano-zero-valent iron/immobilized iron and electro-Fenton-pyrite. Surface properties of heterogeneous catalysts generally control the efficiency to degrade pollutants. Examples of Fenton reactions are demonstrated to degrade and mineralize a wide range of water pollutants in real industrial wastewaters, such as dyes and phenols. Removal of various antibiotics by homogeneous and heterogeneous Fenton reactions is exemplified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-967
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Advanced oxidation processes
  • Antibiotics
  • Dyes
  • Heterogeneous
  • Homogeneous Fenton reaction
  • Mechanism


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