Biochar versus bone char for a sustainable inorganic arsenic mitigation in water: what needs to be done in future research?

Alkurdi, Susan S. A. and Herath, Indika and Bundschuh, Jochen and Al-Juboori, Raed A. and Vithanage, Meththika and Mohan, Dinesh (2019) Biochar versus bone char for a sustainable inorganic arsenic mitigation in water: what needs to be done in future research? Environment International, 127. pp. 52-69. ISSN 0160-4120

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Arsenic (As) is an emerging contaminant on a global scale posing threat to environmental and human health. The relatively brief history of the applications of biochar and bone char has mapped the endeavors to remove As from water to a considerable extent. This critical review attempts to provide a comprehensive overview for the first time on the potential of bio- and bone-char in the immobilization of inorganic As in water. It seeks to offer a rational assessment of what is existing and what needs to be done in future research as an implication for As toxicity of human health risks through acute and chronic exposure to As contaminated water. Bio-and bone-char are recognized as promising alternatives to activated carbon due to their lower production and activation cost. The surface modification via chemical methods has been adopted to improve the adsorption capacity for anionic As species. Surface complexation, ion exchange, precipitation and electrostatic interactions are the main mechanisms involved in the adsorption of As onto the char surface. However, arsenic-bio-bone char interactions along with their chemical bonding for the removal of As in aqueous solution is still a subject of debate. Hence, the proposed mechanisms need to be scrutinized further using advanced analytical techniques such as synchrotron-based X-ray. Moving this technology from laboratory phase to field scale applications is an urgent necessity in order to establish a sustainable As mitigation in drinking water on a global scale.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2020 06:26
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2020 00:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: inorganic arsenic; engineered biochar; bone char; surface modification; sorption capacity; immobilization
Fields of Research (2008): 03 Chemical Sciences > 0306 Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural) > 030603 Colloid and Surface Chemistry
03 Chemical Sciences > 0399 Other Chemical Sciences > 039901 Environmental Chemistry (incl. Atmospheric Chemistry)
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090799 Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 34 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 3406 Physical chemistry > 340603 Colloid and surface chemistry
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370104 Atmospheric composition, chemistry and processes
40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401199 Environmental engineering not elsewhere classified
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