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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 521367, 22 pages
Review Article

Phototreatment of Water by Organic Photosensitizers and Comparison with Inorganic Semiconductors

Department of Chemistry, Physics and Environment, University of Udine, Via del Cotonificio 108, 33100 Udine, Italy

Received 12 November 2014; Revised 9 February 2015; Accepted 13 March 2015

Academic Editor: Maria da Graça P. Neves

Copyright © 2015 Merlyn Thandu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Phototreatment of water is drawing the attention of many as a promising alternative to replace methods like chlorination, ozonization, and other oxidation processes, used in current disinfection methods limiting harmful side-products and by-products that can cause damage to the fauna and flora. Porphyrins, phthalocyanines, and other related organic dyes are well known for their use in photodynamic therapy (PDT). These photosensitizers cause cell death by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) especially singlet oxygen in the presence of light. Such molecules are also being explored for photodynamically treating microbial infections, killing of unwanted pathogens in the environment, and oxidation of chemical pollutants. The process of photosensitisation (phototreatment) can be applied for obtaining clean, microbe-free water, thus exploiting the versatile properties of photosensitizers. This review collects the various attempts carried out for phototreatment of water using organic photosensitizers. For comparison, some reports of semiconductors (especially TiO2) used in photocatalytic treatment of water are also mentioned.