Functionalised biochar (WpOH) was prepared from wild plum kernels using simultaneous pyrolysis and microwave potassium hydroxide (KOH) functionalisation. This was then applied to the removal (from water) of an ionisable pharmaceutical - naproxen (NPX). Characterization of the WpOH was carried out using pHpzc, SEM/EDX, BET, FTIR, XRD, and the principle adsorption mechanisms were thoroughly studied. A pseudo-second order kinetic model best described the reaction kinetic behaviour, and the Langmuir isotherm provided the best fit to the results. The maximum adsorptive interaction (73.14 mg/g) occurred between pH 5 and 7 through electrostatic attraction (the main interaction mechanism) between the negatively charged NPX and the positively charged WpOH functional groups. In addition, hydrogen-bonding and electron-donor-acceptor (EDA) interactions were important. In a competitive study, using NPX and carbamazepine (a basic/amphoteric drug), the different nature/structure of the two compounds resulted in slight competitive adsorption. The results demonstrate the potential for wild plum kernel biochar to be used in the efficient removal of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals from water.
Paunovic, O., Pap, S., Maletic, S., Taggart, M. A., Boskovic, N., & Turk Sekulic, M. (2019). Ionisable emerging pharmaceutical adsorption onto microwave functionalised biochar derived from novel lignocellulosic waste biomass. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 547, 350-360. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2019.04.011