Mechanisms of oxidation of organosulfur compounds by ferrate(VI)

Virender K. Sharma, George W. Luther, Frank J. Millero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The oxidation of organosulfur compounds requires the transfer of oxygen atoms and is important in decontamination of chemical warfare agents, desulfurization of fossil fuel for high quality, deodorization of wastewater and sludge, and remediation of industrial effluents. The kinetics of the oxidation of organosulfur compounds (sulfur-containing amino acids, aliphatic and aromatic thiols, and mercaptans) by the environmentally-friendly oxidant, ferrate(VI) FeO42-, was quantitatively examined in this study using a kinetic model considering possible reactions among the species of ferrate(VI) and organosulfur compounds. The ratios of ferrate(VI) to the various organosulfur compounds for the one oxygen-atom transfer were 0.50 and 0.67 for Fe(II) and Fe(III) as final products, respectively. The second-order rate constants for the oxidation of organosulfur compounds by protonated ferrate(VI) HFeO4- ion were correlated with thermodynamic 1-e- and 2-e- reduction potentials in order to understand the mechanisms of the reactions. The oxidation of the compounds involved a 1-e- transfer step from Fe(VI) to Fe(V), followed by 2-e- transfer to Fe(III) as the reduced product (Fe(VI)→Fe(V)→Fe(III)). The 2-e- transfer steps resulted in the formation of Fe(II) (Fe(VI)→Fe(IV)→Fe(II)). Conclusions drawn from the correlations are consistent with the experimentally determined stoichiometries and products of the reactions. The calculated half-lives for the oxidation were in the range of ms to s at a dose of 10mg K2FeO4L-1 and hence ferrate(VI) has a great potential in treating organosulfur compounds present in water and wastewater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1089
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Clean fuel
  • Electron transfer
  • Ferrate
  • Oxygen-atom transfer
  • Remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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