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The present investigation is based on a study of the effect of buffer and non-buffer divalent anions (phosphate, sulphate, tartrate, succinate, malonate) on the kinetics, product distribution and photodegradation pathways of riboflavin (RF) at pH 6.0–8.0. RF solutions (5 × 10−5 M) were photodegraded in the presence of divalent anions (0.2–1.0 M) using a visible light source and the photoproducts, cyclodehydroriboflavin (CDRF), formylmethylflavin (FMF), lumichrome (LC) and lumiflavin (LF) were assayed by a specific multicomponent spectrophotometric method. RF degradation in the presence of divalent anions follows parallel first-order kinetics to give CDRF and LC as the final products through photoaddition and photoreduction reactions, respectively. The divalent anion-catalysed CDRF formation is affected in the order: phosphate > sulphate > tartrate > succinate > malonate, showing maximum activity of the anions around pH 7. The divalent anions cause deviation of the photoreduction pathway in favour of the photoaddition pathway to form CDRF. The first- and second-order rate constants for the reactions involved in the photodegradation of RF have been determined and the rate–pH profiles and pathway relationships discussed. The catalytic activity of the divalent anions appears to be a function of the relative strength and chemical reactivity of the RF–divalent anion complex acting as a mediator in the photoaddition reaction.