Green synthesis of graphitic nanobiochar for the removal of emerging contaminants in aqueous media

Sammani Ramanayaka, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Deyi Hou, Yong Sik Ok, Meththika Vithanage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports the preparation of nanobiochar (NBC) via top-down approach of bioenergy waste-derived dendro biochar through mechanised grinding in order to assess its capacity to remove emerging contaminants, such as antibiotics, agrochemicals, and potentially toxic elements from aqueous media. Preconditioned biochar was disc milled in ethanol media, and the resulting colloidal biochar was dispersed in water to obtain the NBC fraction by centrifugation. Adsorption edge and isotherm experiments were carried out at pH 3 to 8 and NBC dosages of 0.5 g/L for oxytetracycline (OTC), glyphosate (GL), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), and cadmium (CdII). NBC was characterised by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller surface area, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, which demonstrated the flakey and graphitic nature of the NBC particles with a surface area of 28 m2/g and the presence of different functional groups, such as [sbnd]OH, C[dbnd]O, [sbnd]NH, and CH3. The best pH for OTC and Cd(II) was 9, whereas the best pH levels for GL and Cr(VI) were 7 and 4, respectively. Isotherms depicted a positive cooperative adsorption mechanism by providing the best fit to the Hills equation, with high removal capacities for four contaminants. Dendro NBC showed the best performance, demonstrated by the high partition coefficient for the removal of OTC, GL, Cr(VI), and Cd(II) over various types of adsorbents. The overall results indicated that graphitic NBC produced by mechanical grinding of dendro biochar is a promising material for the removal of OTC, GL, Cr(VI), and Cd(II) from aqueous media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135725
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1


  • Environmental remediation
  • Facile synthesis
  • Mechanical grinding
  • Nanomaterials
  • Potentially toxic elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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