The consumption of oxygen during the degradation of aniline by Fenton and photo-Fenton reactions is studied. The effect that parameters like aniline, Fe(II) and H2O2 initial concentration, pH, temperature and O2 flow rate have on the ratio O2 consumed/H2O2 consumed is examined. The determination of those: combinations of experimental conditions for which an effective partial replacement of H2O2 by O2 as electron acceptor takes place is investigated. The results show that this replacement takes place in a variable extent, but the presence of H2O2 is necessary along the reaction, and the maximum consumption of O2 only takes place when the ratio amount of aniline mineralized vs. initial aniline concentration is minimal. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.