Effectiveness of the engineered pinecone-derived biochar for the removal of fluoride from water

Basit Ahmed Khan, Mahtab Ahmad, Sajid Iqbal, Nanthi Bolan, Shumaila Zubair, Munib Ahmed Shafique, Attaullah Shah

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Drinking fluoride (F -)-contaminated water (>1.5 mg L -1) causes severe dental and skeletal disorders. In the central province of Pakistan, ∼20 times higher levels of F - in the drinking groundwater (compared with the 1.5 mg L -1 permissible limit of the World Health Organization) are triggering bone abnormalities in teenagers. In this study, we demonstrated the potential of pinecone-derived biochar (pristine) impregnated with Fe- and Al-salts (engineered) to defluoridate water. Batch mode adsorption experiments were carried out under variable conditions of solution pH, F - initial concentration, adsorbent dose, and contact time. The engineered biochars resulted in greater adsorption than that of pristine biochar. Specifically, the AlCl 3-modified biochar exhibited a maximum adsorption capacity of 14.07 mg g -1 in spiked water and 13.07 mg g -1 in in-situ groundwater. The equilibrium isothermal and kinetic models predicted monolayer, cooperative, and chemisorption types of the adsorption process. The chemical interaction and outer-sphere complexation of F - with Al, Na, and H elements were further confirmed by the post-adsorption analysis of the AlCl 3-modified biochar by FTIR and XRD. The AlCl 3-modified biochar resulted in 87.13% removal of F - from the in-situ F --contaminated groundwater, even in the presence of naturally occurring competing ions (such as Cl -, HCO 3 -, SO 4 2-, and NO 3 -). We conclude that the AlCl 3-modified biochar derived from pinecone could be a promising cost-effective adsorbent for the defluoridation of water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113540
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue numberPart D
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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