p-Nitrophenol is a common structural unit of many pesticides and was chosen as a model compound to monitor genotoxicity during photocatalytic degradation. The genotoxicity of p-nitrophenol (PNP) and its breakdown products was measured using a bioluminescent bacterial bioassay, Vitotox™. The genotoxic potential decreased with the concomitant photocatalytic degradation of the parent PNP concentration. The rate of genotoxicity reduction was slower than the rate of removal of the parent PNP, due to the formation of genotoxic by-products. After 6 h of photocatalytic treatment the total genotoxicity was removed. These results indicate that bioassays can be used as a simple and highly sensitive method for monitoring the general toxicity of chemical pollutants before, during and after photocatalytic treatment or other destructive processes.
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