Organosulphur-modified biochar: An effective green adsorbent for removing metal species in aquatic systems
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Organosulphur-modified biochar (BC) can be used as a green adsorbent for removing potentially toxic metal ions from aqueous solutions. In this study, sugarcane bagasse BCs (produced at pyrolysis temperatures from 300 to 700°C) were modified in a single-step reaction with isothiocyanate. The performance and selectivity of raw and modified BCs for removing Cd2+, Ni2+, Pb2+ and Cr3+ from mono- and multi-element aqueous solutions were investigated. The characterisation of the BCs was performed by proximate analysis, Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS). The results showed that the organosulphur modification increased S and N contents on the surface of the BCs, particularly isothiocyanate groups. The maximal adsorptions were observed for raw and modified BCs produced at 700°C and pH 6. The adsorption kinetics of Cd2+, Ni2+, Pb2+ and Cr3+ before and after BC modification was best described by the pseudo-second order kinetic model. The results indicated that the removal of metal ions by modified-biochars follows the order Pb2+> Cr3+> Cd2+ ≅ Ni2+ and Cd2+> Pb2+> Ni2+≅Cr3+ for mono-element and multi-element systems, respectively. The mechanisms involved in the adsorption were physisorption, chemisorption, complexation, precipitation, and ion exchange. The presence of other metal ions in the multi-element system caused a synergistic effect on adsorption of Cr3+, Cd2+ and Ni2+ and an antagonistic effect on adsorption of Pb2+. Organosulphur-modified BC can be an effective andselective adsorbent for removing Cd2+, Ni2+, Pb2+ and Cr3+ from aqueous solutions.
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