The Fenton reaction for the degradation of surfactants has been investigated and partial degradation products have been identified and characterized by mass spectrometry for the case of lauryl sulphate. The polar soluble products were investigated by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) with electrospray ionization (ESI), and the volatile products leaving the mixture during the reaction were trapped by means of solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and investigated by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) with electron and chemical ionization. The oxidation leads to the formation of products with hydroxyl and epoxide groups due to insertion of oxygen atoms or to aldehydes derived from the loss of the hydrophilic sulphate group. The extent of mineralization is dependent on peroxide and iron concentrations.
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