Pyrolysis condition affected sulfamethazine sorption by tea waste biochars

Anushka Upamali Rajapaksha, Meththika Vithanage, Ming Zhang, Mahtab Ahmad, Dinesh Mohan, Scott X. Chang, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Citations (Scopus)


Sulfamethazine (SMT) as a veterinary drug has been detected frequently in the environment. In this study, six biochars produced from tea waste (TW) at 300 and 700°C with or without N2 and steam activation were characterized and evaluated for SMT sorption in water. The sorption of SMT was interpreted as a function of biochar production condition, SMT concentration, pH and physicochemical characteristics of biochar. Distribution coefficient data showed high sorption of SMT at low pH (~3) and the highest sorption density of 33.81mgg-1 was achieved by the steam activated biochar produced at 700°C. The steam activation process increased the adsorption capacity by increasing the surface area of the biochar. The π-π electron donor-acceptor interaction, cation-π interaction and cation exchange at low pH were the primary mechanisms governing SMT retention by biochars. Overall, steam activated tea waste biochar could be a promising remedy of SMT removal from water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource technology
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Korea Ministry of Environment , as a Geo-Advanced Innovative Action Project (G112-00056-0004-0). Instrumental analyses were partly supported by the Korea Basic Science Institute , the Environmental Research Institute , and the Central Laboratory of Kangwon National University , Korea. This study was also supported by 2013 Research Grant from Kangwon National University (project title: Development of designer biochar technology).


  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Emerging contaminant
  • Low cost adsorbent
  • Veterinary antibiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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