Elucidation of methyl tert-butyl ether degradation with Fe 2+/H2O2 by purge-and-trap gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

Xiang Rong Xu, Ji Dong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Degradation of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) with Fe2+/H 2O2 was studied by purge-and-trap gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. MTBE was degraded 99% within 120 min under optimum conditions. MTBE was firstly degraded rapidly based on a Fe2+/H2O 2 reaction and then relatively slower based on a Fe 3+/H2O2 reaction. The dissolved oxygen decreased rapidly in the Fe2+/H2O2 reaction stage, but showed a slow increase in the Fe3+/H2O 2 reaction stage. tert-Butyl formate, tert-butyl alcohol, methyl acetate and acetone were identified as primary degradation products by mass spectrometry. A preliminary reaction mechanism involving two different pathways for the degradation of MTBE with Fe2+/H2O2 was proposed. This study suggests that degradation of MTBE can be achieved using the Fe2+/H2O2 process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Degradation
  • Gas chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Mechanism
  • Methyl tert-butyl ether


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