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A systematic review of photocatalytic degradation of humic acid in aqueous solution using nanoparticles

  • Elham Derakhshani , Ali Naghizadeh EMAIL logo , Morteza Arab-Zozani and Tahereh Farkhondeh



Humic acid (HA) compounds in the disinfection processes of drinking water and wastewater are considered as precursors of highly toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic disinfectant by-products. The aim of this study was to systematically review all research studies on the photocatalytic degradation of humic acid and to evaluate the laboratory conditions and results of these studies.


The present systematic review was performed by searching the Scopus, PubMed, and web of science databases until December 2021. The parameters of type of catalyst, catalyst size, optimum pH, optimum initial concentration of humic Acid, optimum catalyst concentration, optimum time, light used and removal efficiency were investigated.


395 studies were screened and using the inclusion and exclusion criteria, in total, 20 studies met our inclusion criteria and provided the information necessary to Photocatalytic degradation of humic acid by nanoparticles. In the investigated studies, the percentage of photocatalytic degradation of humic acid by nanoparticles was reported to be above 70%, and in some studies, the removal efficiency had reached 100%.


From the results of this systematic review, it was concluded that the photocatalytic process using nanoparticles has a high effect on the degradation of humic acid.

Corresponding author: Dr. Ali Naghizadeh, Medical Toxicology and Drug Abuse Research Center (MTDRC), Birjand University of Medical Sciences (BUMS), Birjand, Iran, E-mail:


The authors wish to thank Birjand University of Medical Sciences for their financially support.

  1. Research funding: Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The local Institutional Review Board deemed the study exempt from review.


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Received: 2022-03-10
Accepted: 2022-05-31
Published Online: 2022-06-24
Published in Print: 2023-09-26

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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