In Situ Intermediates Determination and Cytotoxicological Assessment in Catalytic Oxidation of Formaldehyde: Implications for Catalyst Design and Selectivity Enhancement under Ambient Conditions

Haiwei Li, Long Cui, Yanfeng Lu, Yu Huang, Junji Cao, Duckshin Park, Shun Cheng Lee, Wingkei Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Formation and decay of formaldehyde oxides (CH2OO) affect the complete oxidation of formaldehyde. However, the speciation and reactivity of CH2OO are poorly understood because of its extremely fast kinetics and indirect measurements. Herein, three isomers of CH2OO (i.e., main formic acid, small dioxirane, and minor CH2OO Criegee) were in situ determined and confirmed as primary intermediates of the room-temperature catalytic oxidation of formaldehyde with two reference catalysts, that is, TiO2/MnOx-CeO2 and Pt/MnOx-CeO2. CH2OO Criegee is quite reactive, whereas formic acid and dioxirane have longer lifetimes. The production, stabilization, and removal of the three intermediates are preferentially performed at high humidity, matching well with the decay rate of CH2OO at approximately 6.6 × 103 s-1 in humid feed gas faster than 4.0 × 103 s-1 in dry feed. By contrast, given that a thinner water/TiO2 interface was well-defined in TiO2/MnOx-CeO2, fewer reductions in the active sites and catalytic activity were found when humidity was decreased. Furthermore, lethal intermediates mostly captured at the TiO2/MnOx-CeO2 surface suppressed the toxic off-gas emissions. This study provides practical insights into the rational design and selectivity enhancement of a reliable catalytic process for indoor air purification under unfavorable ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5230-5240
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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