Adsorption of selected endocrine disrupting compounds and pharmaceuticals on activated biochars

Chanil Jung, Junyeong Park, Kwang Hun Lim, Sunkyu Park, Jiyong Heo, Namguk Her, Jeill Oh, Soyoung Yun, Yeomin Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

298 Scopus citations


Chemically activated biochar produced under oxygenated (O-biochar) and oxygen-free (N-biochar) conditions were characterized and the adsorption of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs): bisphenol A (BPA), atrazine (ATR), 17 α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), and pharmaceutical active compounds (PhACs); sulfamethoxazole (SMX), carbamazepine (CBM), diclofenac (DCF), ibuprofen (IBP) on both biochars and commercialized powdered activated carbon (PAC) were investigated. Characteristic analysis of adsorbents by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) was conducted to determine better understanding about the EDCs/PhACs adsorption. N-biochar consisted of higher polarity moieties with more alkyl (0-45ppm), methoxyl (45-63ppm), O-alkyl (63-108ppm), and carboxyl carbon (165-187ppm) content than other adsorbents, while aromaticity of O-biochar was higher than that of N-biochar. O-biochar was composed mostly of aromatic moieties, with low H/C and O/C ratios compared to the highly polarized N-biochar that contained diverse polar functional groups. The higher surface area and pore volume of N-biochar resulted in higher adsorption capacity toward EDCs/PhACs along with atomic-level molecular structural property than O-biochar and PAC. N-biochar had a highest adsorption capacity of all chemicals, suggesting that N-biochar derived from loblolly pine chip is a promising sorbent for agricultural and environmental applications. The adsorption of pH-sensitive dissociable SMX, DCF, IBP, and BPA varied and the order of adsorption capacity was correlated with the hydrophobicity (Kow) of adsorbates throughout the all adsorbents, whereas adsorption of non-ionizable CBM, ATR, and EE2 in varied pH allowed adsorbents to interact with hydrophobic property of adsorbates steadily throughout the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-710
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Korea Ministry of Environment , ‘Project, 414-111-006’.


  • Adsorption mechanism
  • Biochar
  • Endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Pharmaceuticals


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