Fenton's reagent

Cleans up effluent

Published: Wednesday 15 December 2004

Researchers from Kolkata-based Jadavpur University and Calcutta University have devised a way to remove rhodamine b, a organic compound, from effluents. The compound is used by many sectors: textile, paper and pulp, cosmetic and agrochemical. "But it is non-biodegradable and has carcinogenic molecules. It often pollutes the groundwater, when effluents are dumped," says Basab Chaudhuri, the lead researcher.

Fenton's reagent, an aqueous solution of ferrous sulphate and hydrogen peroxide, was used to remove rhodamine b, converting 98 per cent of the latter into a harmless form by generating hydroxyl radicals (a combination of a hydrogen and an oxygen atom with an unpaired electron). The radicals stop rhodamine from releasing harmful molecules.

-- biplab das Kolkata

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