Experimental design optimization for electrochemical removal of gentamicin: toxicity evaluation and degradation pathway

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Electrochemical degradation of gentamicin was achieved using a laboratory scale electrochemical reactor by optimizing pH, current density and treatment time. A two step statistical optimization was performed as per factorial design and center composite design (CCD). A Pareto chart was used for selecting statistically significant effects and an analysis of variance (ANOVA) table indicated significant curvature. Thus adding additional experimental runs improved the model fitting through a second order model. Maximum degradation was predicted at a pH of 6.7, 70 A m−2 and 45 min. The experimental data fitted well through a reduced quadratic model with R2 equal to 0.945. The toxicity of degradation products as determined by disc diffusion assay employing Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain was found to be reduced by 55%. The degradation pathway of gentamicin was studied using mass spectral (MS) analysis. Pure gentamicin showed a molecular ion peak at m/z 478 ([M + 1]+), and after addition of NaCl as electrolyte, the mass peak was observed at m/z 523. After 15 min of electrochemical treatment, a new peak appeared at m/z 316 due to the loss of one pyran moiety. After 45 min of electrochemical treatment, another peak appeared at m/z of 478 due to loss of two Na+ from gentamicin.

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