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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Hardwood spent mushroom substrate-based activated biochar as a sustainable bioresource for removal of emerging pollutants from wastewater

Grimm, Alejandro; Simões Dos Reis, Glaydson; Dinh, Van Minh; Larsson, Sylvia; Mikkola, Jyri-Pekka; Lima, Eder Claudio; Xiong, Shaojun


Hardwood spent mushroom substrate was employed as a carbon precursor to prepare activated biochars using phosphoric acid (H3PO4) as chemical activator. The activation process was carried out using an impregnation ratio of 1 precursor:2 H3PO4; pyrolysis temperatures of 700, 800, and 900 °C; heating rate of 10 °C min−1; and treatment time of 1 h. The specific surface area (SSA) of the biochars reached 975, 1031, and 1215 m2 g−1 for the samples pyrolyzed at 700, 800, and 900 °C, respectively. The percentage of mesopores in their structures was 75.4%, 78.5%, and 82.3% for the samples pyrolyzed at 700, 800, and 900 °C, respectively. Chemical characterization of the biochars indicated disordered carbon structures with the presence of oxygen and phosphorous functional groups on their surfaces. The biochars were successfully tested to adsorb acetaminophen and treat two simulated pharmaceutical effluents composed of organic and inorganic compounds. The kinetic data from adsorption of acetaminophen were fitted to the Avrami fractional-order model, and the equilibrium data was well represented by the Liu isotherm model, attaining a maximum adsorption capacity of 236.8 mg g−1 for the biochar produced at 900 °C. The adsorption process suggests that the pore-filling mechanism mainly dominates the acetaminophen removal, although van der Walls forces are also involved. The biochar produced at 900 °C removed up to 84.7% of the contaminants in the simulated effluents. Regeneration tests using 0.1 M NaOH + 20% EtOH as eluent showed that the biochars could be reused; however, the adsorption capacity was reduced by approximately 50% after three adsorption–desorption cycles.


Hardwood spent mushroom substrate; Phosphoric acid activation; Biochars; Acetaminophen adsorption; Pore-filling mechanism; Pharmaceutical effluents

Published in

Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery
2024, Volume: 14, number: 2, pages: 2293-2309