Sustainability and application of corncob-derived biochar for removal of fluoroquinolones


Biochar-inspired tertiary removal system is beneficial in preventing antibiotic residue discharged from hospital wastewater treatment. Taking advantage of a simple kiln controlled at around 600 °C, we succeeded in carbonizing corncobs to biochar with a surface area of 306 m2/g. Using ciprofloxacin (CFX), ofloxacin (OFX), and delafloxacin (DLX), we demonstrated the performance of the corncob biochar for the sorption removal. The pseudo-second-order rate of DLX was lower than CFX and OFX. The maximum sorption capacity Qmax of 93.9 μg/g for DLX, 399.6 μg/g for CFX, and 306.0 μg/g for OFX were estimated using the Langmuir model. The parameter KL relating to binding strength for DLX is 8 times larger than CFX and OFX. The Qmax could be mainly determined by the pore size distribution of the biochar and the dimensions of FQs considering hydration. Furthermore, we discussed that these results might relate to the number of halogen atoms and functional groups in the fluoroquinolones.

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We are grateful to Mr. Ueyama of Kyowakiden Co., Ltd. for taking the SEM image of the biochar. We especially thank the technical staff of the Renewable Energy Research Center of Maejo University. They kindly helped use the kiln to pyrolyze the corncob biochar.


This work was partially supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 20K20640.

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Correspondence to Tomoaki Itayama.

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Dang, BT., Gotore, O., Ramaraj, R. et al. Sustainability and application of corncob-derived biochar for removal of fluoroquinolones. Biomass Conv. Bioref. (2021).

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  • Biochar
  • Delafloxacin
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Sorption
  • Isotherm
  • Kinetics