Photocatalytic removal of toluene from gas stream using chitosan/AgI-ZnO Nanocomposite fixed on glass bed under UVA irradiation

Document Type : Original Article


1 Center of Excellence for Occupational Health, Research Center for Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Student Research Committee, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

4 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran; Environmental Technologies Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


In this study, AgI-ZnO/chitosan nanocomposite was synthesized and then was coated on 2×40×200 glass plates under UVA irradiation for the removal of toluene from air streams. The AgI-ZnO/chitosan Nanocomposite was characterized using XRD, SEM, FTIR and BET techniques. The analyses showed Zn and Ag were added to the composite structure with weight percentages of 32.02 and 7.31, respectively. The results confirmed that the AgI-ZnO/chitosan nanocomposite was successfully synthetized. According to the results, the photocatalytic process was able to remove 74.6% of toluene at an air flow rate of 1 L/min after 3.3 min. Also, by increasing the passing flow rate from 0.3 to 1.5 L/min through the photocatalytic reactor, the process efficiency for toluene removal increased. The toluene removal efficiency decreased with increasing relative humidity with respect to time. Moreover, increasing relative humidity decreased the photocatalyst capacity for the removal of the target pollutants. The results implied that the initial toluene concentration in the inlet stream played a key role on the photocatalysis of toluene and by further increase in the pollutant concentration higher than 20 ppm, its performance decreased dramatically. Therefore, the proposed process can be used and an effective technique for the removal of toluene from the polluted air stream under UV irradiation and increasing temperature up to 60 °C could increase its performance.


  1. Samarghandi, M. R., Daraee, Z., Shekher Giri, B., Asgari, G., “Reza Rahmani, A.and Poormohammadi, A., Catalytic ozonation of ethyl benzene using modified pumice with magnesium nitrate from polluted air”, International Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 74, (2017) 486-499. DOI: 10.1080/00207233.2017.1316042.
  2. Zhu, B., Zhang, L.-Y., Li, M., Yan, Y., Zhang, X.-M.andZhu, Y.-M., “High-performance of plasma-catalysis hybrid system for toluene removal in air using supported Au nanocatalysts” Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol. 381, (2020), 122599. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2019.122599.
  3. Samarghandi, M.R., Babaee, S.A., Ahmadian, M., Asgari, G., Ghorbani Shahna, F.and Poormohammadi, A., Performance catalytic ozonation over the carbosieve in the removal of toluene from waste air stream, Journal of Research in Health Sciences, Vol. 14, (2014), 227-232.
  4. Pitarque, M., Vaglenov, A., Nosko, M., Hirvonen, A., Norppa, H., Creus, A., Marcos, R., “Evaluation of DNA damage by the Comet assay in shoe workers exposed to toluene and other organic solvents, Mutation”, Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, Vol. 441, (1999) 115-127. DOI: 10.1016/s1383-5718(99)00042-x.
  5. Hsieh, G. C., Sharma, R. P., Parker, R. D., “Immunotoxicological evaluation of toluene exposure via drinking water in mice”, Environmental Research, Vol. 49, (1989) 93-103. DOI: 10.1016/S0013-9351(89)80024-6.
  6. Poormohammadi, A., Bahrami, A., Ghiasvand, A., Shahna, F. G. and Farhadian, M., “Preparation of Carbotrap/silica composite for needle trap field sampling of halogenated volatile organic compounds followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry determination”, Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering, (2019) 1-9. DOI: 10.1007/s40201-019-00418-2.
  7. Salehi, R., Arami, M., Mahmoodi, N. M., Bahrami, H., Khorramfar, S., “Novel biocompatible composite (chitosan–zinc oxide nanoparticle): preparation, characterization and dye adsorption properties”, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, Vol. 80, (2010), 86-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2010.05.039.
  8. Scharnberg, A. A., de Loreto, A. C., Alves, A. K. “Optical and structural characterization of Bi2FexNbO7 nanoparticles for environmental applications”, Emerging Science Journal, Vol. 4, (2020) 11-17.‏ DOI: 10.28991/esj-2020-01205
  9. Gharibshahian, E. “The Effect of Polyvinyl Alcohol Concentration on the Growth Kinetics of KTiOPO4 Nanoparticles Synthesized by the Co-precipitation Method”, High Tech and Innovation Journal. Vol. 1, (2020), 187-193.‏ Doi: 10.28991/HIJ-2020-01-04-06
  10. Lu, J., Wang, H., Dong, Y., Wang, F., Dong, S., “Plasmonic AgX nanoparticles-modified ZnO nanorod arrays and their visible-light-driven photocatalytic activity”, Chinese Journal of Catalysis, Vol. 35, (2014), 1113-1125.‏ DOI: 10.1016/S1872-2067(14)60055-3.
  11. Yaghmaeian, K., Jaafarzadeh, N., Nabizadeh, R., Rasoulzadeh, H., Akbarpour, B., “Evaluating the performance of modified adsorbent of zero valent iron nanoparticles–Chitosan composite for arsenate removal from aqueous solutions”, Iranian Journal of Health and Environment, Vol. 8 (2016) 535-548.
  12. Nithya, A., Jothivenkatachalam, K., Prabhu, S., Jeganathan, K. “Chitosan based nanocomposite materials as photocatalyst–a review”, In Materials Science Forum, Vol. (2014), 79-94. DOI: 10.4028/
  13. Li, J., Fang, W., Yu, C., Zhou, W., Xie, Y., “Ag-based semiconductor photocatalysts in environmental purification”, Applied Surface Science, Vol. 358, (2015). DOI: 46-56. 10.1016/j.apsusc.2015.07.139
  14. Abbasipour, M., Mirjalili, M., Khajavi, R., Majidi, M. M., “Coated cotton gauze with Ag/ZnO/chitosan nanocomposite as a modern wound dressing”, Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics, Vol. 9, (2014) 155892501400900114.
  15. Meng, Y., “A sustainable approach to fabricating Ag nanoparticles/PVA hybrid nanofiber and its catalytic activity”, Nanomaterials, Vol. 5, (2015) 1124-1135. DOI: 10.3390/nano5021124.
  16. Samadi, M. T., Shokoohi, R., Poormohammadi, A., Azarian, G., Harati, M., Shanesaz, S., “Removal of bisphenol, using antimony nanoparticle multi-walled carbon nanotubes composite from aqueous solutions”, Oriental Journal of Chemistry, Vol. 32, (2016) 1015-1024. DOI : 10.13005/ojc/320227
  17. Parvari, R., Ghorbani‑Shahna, F., Bahrami, A., Azizian, S., Assari, M. J., Farhadian, M., “Core‑Discontinuous Shell Nanocomposite as an Indirect Z‑Scheme Photocatalyst for Degradation of Ethylbenzene in the Air Under White LEDs Irradiation”, Catalysis Letters, (2020) 150, 3455-3469. DOI: 10.1007/s10562-020-03236-6.
  18. Bose, R., “Methane gas recovery and usage system for coalmines, municipal land fills and oil refinery distillation tower vent stacks”, Google Patents, 2010.
  19. Jiancai, F., Xiao, C., Qibin, X., Hongxia, X., Zhong, L., “Effect of relative humidity on catalytic combustion of toluene over copper based catalysts with different supports”, Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.17, (2009) 767-772. DOI: 10.1016/S1004-9541(08)60275-X.
  20. Xie, W., Li, R. Xu, Q., “Enhanced photocatalytic activity of Se-doped TiO2 under visible light irradiation”, Scientific Reports, Vol. 8, (2018) 8752.
  21. Binas, V., Venieri, D., Kotzias, D.andKiriakidis, G., “Modified TiO2 based photocatalysts for improved air and health quality”, Journal of Materiomics, Vol. 3, (2017) 3-16. DOI:
  22. Hu, Q., Liu, B., Song, M., Zhao, X., “Temperature effect on the photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange under UV-vis light irradiation”, Journal of Wuhan University of Technology-Materials Science Edition, Vol. 25, (2010) 210-213. DOI: 10.1007/s11595-010-2210-5.
  23. Priscilla, S. J., Judi, V. A., Daniel, R., Sivaji, K. “Effects of chromium doping on the electrical properties of zno nanoparticles”, Emerging Science Journal, Vol. 4, (2020), 82-88.‏ DOI: 10.28991/esj-2020-01212
  24. Sohrabi, S., Akhlaghian, F., “Fe/TiO2 catalyst for photodegradation of phenol in water”, International Journal of Engineering, Transactions A: Basics, Vol. 28 (2015) 499-506.‏ DOI: 10.5829/idosi.ije.2015.28.04a.02