Photodegradation of Triclosan on the Kaolinite Surface: Kinetic, Mechanistic, and Molecular Modeling Approach


  • Le Fur Cyril
  • Goujon Florent
  • Wong Wah Chung Pascal
  • Malfreyt Patrice
  • Sarakha Mohamed

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The photodegradation of triclosan (TCS) was investigated on the kaolinite surface. The quantum yield was evaluated, and the photoproducts were identified by HPLC/MS (LC/Q-TOF), showing that the phototransformation is completely different from that reported in aqueous solutions. In particular, the formation of dioxin derivatives was fostered and occurred with a higher efficiency when compared to aqueous solutions. This suggests that TCS has specific interactions with the clay that clearly modifies its photochemical behavior. Moreover, it has also been shown that higher concentrations of TCS, namely, higher than 1.0 μmol g-1 of kaolinite, lead to a significant decrease of the photodegradation rate constant and enhance the formation yield of dimer-type photoproducts. This suggests that the distribution of TCS is clearly not homogeneous at the clay surface and the formation of aggregates is more likely occurring. To get a better insight into this specific interaction, a molecular dynamic modeling of TCS adsorption at the surface of kaolinite was carried out. This clearly shows that when equilibrium is reached, TCS binds to the kaolinite surface by hydrogen bonds involving the phenol function of TCS and the hydroxyl groups of the kaolinite surface. Such behavior confers a particular conformation to the adsorbed TCS that is different from that obtained in water and which could be a key step to partially explain the specific photochemical reactivity in both media. In addition, several TCS molecules appear to interact with each other through the π-stacking (aromatic stacking) process while retaining this hydrogen bond with the kaolinite surface. This is clearly in favor of cluster formation on the clay surface and promotes dimer-type photoproducts.

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