Electrochemical oxidation of nitrogen-heterocyclic compounds at boron-doped diamond electrode

Xuan Xing, Xiuping Zhu, Hongna Li, Yi Jiang, Jinren Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen-heterocyclic compounds (NHCs) are toxic and bio-refractory contaminants widely spread in environment. This study investigated electrochemical degradation of NHCs at boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode with particular attention to the effect of different number and position of nitrogen atoms in molecular structure. Five classical NHCs with similar structures including indole (ID), quinoline (QL), isoquinoline (IQL), benzotriazole (BT) and benzimidazole (BM) were selected as the target compounds. Results of bulk electrolysis showed that degradation of all NHCs was fit to a pseudo first-order equation. The five compounds were degraded with the following sequence: ID > QL > IQL > BT > BM in terms of their rates of oxidation. Quantum chemical calculation was combined with experimental results to describe the degradation character of NHCs at BDD anode. A linear relationship between degradation rate and delocalization energy was observed, which demonstrated that electronic charge was redistributed through the conjugation system and accumulated at the active sites under the attack of hydroxyl radicals produced at BDD anode. Moreover, atom charge was calculated by semi empirical PM3 method and active sites of NHCs were identified respectively. Analysis of intermediates by GC-MS showed agreement with calculation results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-375
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Boron-doped diamond electrode
  • Electrochemical oxidation
  • Nitrogen-heterocyclic compounds
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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