Removal of benzotriazole derivatives by biochar: Potential environmental applications

Sabolc Pap, Olivera Paunovic, Helena Prosen, Ida Kraševec, Polonca Trebše, Lydia Niemi, Mark a. Taggart, Maja turk Sekulic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Benzotriazole and its derivatives (BTAs) are commonly present in wastewater due to their extensive use in industrial processes, yet their removal is still unexplored. Here, we test the removal of these pollutants using two functionalised biochars, synthesised from wild plum (WpOH) and apricot (AsPhA) kernels. The aim of this work was to optimise the adsorption process against various BTAs (i.e., benzotriazole (BTZ), 4-hydroxy-1H-benzotriazole (OHBZ), 4-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (4 MBZ), 5-methyl-1H-benzotriazole (5 MBZ), 5-chloro-1H-benzotriazole (ClBZ), 5,6-dimethyl-1H-benzotriazole (DMBZ)), and determine the adsorption mechanisms at play, using real wastewater matrices. Batch studies showed that the optimal adsorption pH ranged between 4 and 6 for WpOH and AsPhA, respectively, and equilibrium was reached after 240 min. The kinetic models that best described the adsorption process were in the following order: Elovich model > pseudo-second order model > pseudo-first order model. The equilibrium data showed the highest correlation with the Freundlich isotherm, indicating multilayer adsorption. The maximum adsorption capacity obtained in mixtures was 379 mg/g on WpOH and 526 mg/g on AsPhA. The mechanistic work revealed that the BTAs became bound to the biochar primarily through H-bonding, n-π and π-π EDA interactions. In wastewater, obtained before and after conventional treatment, the concentration of OHBZ and BTZ was reduced by >40%, while the concentration of the other compounds studied fell below the detection limit (∼2.0–90 ng/L). Finally, using a Vibrio fischeri assay, we showed that adsorption onto AsPhA significantly reduced the relative toxicity of both raw and treated wastewater.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122205
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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