Publications by authors named "Yong Sik Ok"

394 Publications

Applied Machine Learning for Prediction of CO Adsorption on Biomass Waste-Derived Porous Carbons.

Environ Sci Technol 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea.

Biomass waste-derived porous carbons (BWDPCs) are a class of complex materials that are widely used in sustainable waste management and carbon capture. However, their diverse textural properties, the presence of various functional groups, and the varied temperatures and pressures to which they are subjected during CO adsorption make it challenging to understand the underlying mechanism of CO adsorption. Here, we compiled a data set including 527 data points collected from peer-reviewed publications and applied machine learning to systematically map CO adsorption as a function of the textural and compositional properties of BWDPCs and adsorption parameters. Various tree-based models were devised, where the gradient boosting decision trees (GBDTs) had the best predictive performance with of 0.98 and 0.84 on the training and test data, respectively. Further, the BWDPCs in the compiled data set were classified into regular porous carbons (RPCs) and heteroatom-doped porous carbons (HDPCs), where again the GBDT model had of 0.99 and 0.98 on the training and 0.86 and 0.79 on the test data for the RPCs and HDPCs, respectively. Feature importance revealed the significance of adsorption parameters, textural properties, and compositional properties in the order of precedence for BWDPC-based CO adsorption, effectively guiding the synthesis of porous carbons for CO adsorption applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c01849DOI Listing
July 2021

New mechanistic insight into rapid adsorption of pharmaceuticals from water utilizing activated biochar.

Environ Res 2021 Jul 13;202:111693. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

The presence of emerging pollutants especially hazardous chemicals and pharmaceuticals in aquatic environments is a matter of grave concern to human health and the environment. In this study, coffee bean waste (CBW) was utilized to synthesize pristine (CBW) and activated (CBW) biochars for the elimination of diclofenac (DF) and levofloxacin (LEV) from water. A facile two-step approach was used to synthesize CBW using chemical pretreatment and pyrolysis under N purging. BET results of CBW revealed that chemical pretreatment increased surface area by approximately 160 times compared to CBW. The calculated I/I ratio from Raman spectra confirmed that CBW had a high functionalized surface. Different operational parameters such as contact time, pH, adsorbent dose, ionic strength, and adsorbate concentration were studied and optimized. Maximum Langmuir adsorption capacity of CBW was found to be 61.17 and 110.70 mg/g for DF and LVX, respectively. Experimental results demonstrated that presence of NaCl in solution enhanced DF removal efficiency due to the salting-out effect. Electrostatic attraction, π-π bonding, and hydrophobic interaction were prominently responsible mechanisms for the adsorption of DF and LVX. Furthermore, continuous-flow mode studies confirmed that CBW can be successfully utilized in large-scale treatment applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111693DOI Listing
July 2021

Lead (Pb) sorption to hydrophobic and hydrophilic zeolites in the presence and absence of MTBE.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Jun 29;420:126528. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, United Kingdom.

The co-contamination of the environment by metals and organic pollutants is a significant concern, and one such example is lead (Pb) and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) due to their historic use as fuel additives. Clinoptilolite is an abundant and efficient zeolite for metal removal, but the potential interference of co-existing organic pollutants on metal removal, such as MTBE, have rarely been discussed. In this study, a combination of batch sorption tests and synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopic analyses were employed to investigate Pb sorption mechanism(s) onto clinoptilolite in the presence and absence of MTBE. A comparison was made to synthetic ZSM-5 zeolite to gain insights into differences in Pb binding mechanisms between hydrophilic (clinoptilolite) and hydrophobic (ZSM-5) zeolites. Site occupancy and surface precipitation contributed equally to Pb removal by clinoptilolite, while surface precipitation was the main Pb removal mechanism for ZSM-5 followed by site occupancy. Despite the negligible effect of 100 mg/L MTBE on observed Pb removal from solution by both zeolites, a surface-embedded Pb removal mechanism, through the Mg site on clinoptilolite surface, arises when MTBE is present. This study provides an understanding of atomic-level Pb uptake mechanisms on zeolites, with and without co-contaminating MTBE, which aids in their application in water treatment at co-contaminated sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126528DOI Listing
June 2021

Review on upgrading organic waste to value-added carbon materials for energy and environmental applications.

J Environ Manage 2021 Jul 9;296:113128. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Value-added materials such as biochar and activated carbon that are produced using thermo-chemical conversion of organic waste have gained an emerging interest for the application in the fields of energy and environment because of their low cost and unique physico-chemical properties. Organic waste-derived materials have multifunctional abilities in the field of environment for capturing greenhouse gases and remediation of contaminated soil and water as well as in the field of energy storage and conversion. This review critically evaluates and discusses the current thermo-chemical approaches for upgrading organic waste to value-added carbon materials, performance enhancement of these materials via activation and/or surface modification, and recent research findings related to energy and environmental applications. Moreover, this review provides detailed guidelines for preparing high-performance organic waste-derived materials and insights for their potential applications. Key challenges associated with the sustainable management of organic waste for ecological and socio-economic benefits and potential solutions are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113128DOI Listing
July 2021

Carbon precursors in coal tar: Extraction and preparation of carbon materials.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Sep 13;788:147697. Epub 2021 May 13.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program, Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Coke resources are abundantly available worldwide and are a large by-product of tar production. Moreover, their utilization presents a series of environmental pollution problems. Common technologies for coal tar production applications urgently need to be upgraded because coal tar is listed as a national hazardous waste. This review associates coal tar development with deep processing technology for extracting environmentally beneficial compounds from coal tar, which have never been reported. Recent studies on the innovative approaches for extracting phenols and nitrogen-containing compounds from coal tar have been addressed, as well as a preparation method of carbon materials with high catalytic activity and a well-ordered structure by confined polymerization. Tremendous demand for further research and exploration of selectively extracted compounds from coal tar implies a new opportunity for polymerizing the resin and a great challenge for the current technology implemented for valorizing coal tar into ordered carbon materials. Consequently, more concerted efforts should be implemented to achieve a wide range of polymer resin applications and improve the quality of carbon precursors extracted from the coal tar, thus increasing the economic benefit and scientific value of coal tar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147697DOI Listing
September 2021

Thermally treated zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) for visible light photocatalytic degradation of gaseous formaldehyde.

Chem Sci 2020 May 21;11(26):6670-6681. Epub 2020 May 21.

School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong Tat Chee Avenue Kowloon Hong Kong China +852 3442 0688 +852 3442 7714.

The development of wide-spectrum responsive photocatalysts for efficient formaldehyde (HCHO) removal is highly desired yet remains a great challenge. Here we successfully converted zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8), one of the most well-studied metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), from routine ultraviolet-driven to novel broad-spectrum-driven photocatalyst a facile thermal treatment. The isocyanate groups (-N[double bond, length as m-dash]C[double bond, length as m-dash]O) formed in the thermally treated ZIF-8 (ZIF-8-T) is crucial in enabling the superior photocatalytic performance in formaldehyde degradation. Specifically, the best-performing ZIF-8-T sample showed around 2.1 and 9.4 times the HCHO adsorption amount and the solar photocatalytic degradation rate, respectively, of pristine ZIF-8. In addition, ZIF-8-T exhibited visible light ( ≥ 400 nm) photocatalytic HCHO degradation performance, photo-converting 72% and nearly 100% of 20 ppm and 10 ppm HCHO within 1 hour, respectively. This work affords new insights and knowledge that inspire and inform the design and development of MOF-based photocatalysts with broad-spectrum responses for efficient air purification operations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0sc01397hDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8159372PMC
May 2020

Biochars ages differently depending on the feedstock used for their production: Willow- versus sewage sludge-derived biochars.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Oct 1;789:147458. Epub 2021 May 1.

Department of Radiochemistry and Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Chemistry, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, 3 Maria Curie-Sklodowska Square, 20-031 Lublin, Poland. Electronic address:

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of abiotic aging of biochars under controlled laboratory conditions on its physicochemical properties and in consequence on their stability. Biochars (BCs) produced at 500 and 700 °C from willow or sewage sludge were incubated at different temperatures (-20, 4, 20, 60, or 90 °C) for 6 and 12 months. Pristine (i.e. immediately after their production) and aged BCs were characterized using a range of complementary methods. As a result of simulated temperature aging, there was a change in all biochar properties studied, with the direction of these changes being determined by both the type of feedstock and biochar production temperature. At all temperatures, aging was the most intense during the first 6 months and led to oxidation of the biochars and removal of the most labile components from them. The intensity of these processes increased with increasing aging temperature. Incubation of the biochars for another 6 months did not have such a significant effect on the biochar properties as that observed during the first months of incubation, which is evidence that the biochars had reached stability. The sewage sludge-derived biochars with a higher mineral content than the willow-derived biochars were less stable. The low-temperature biochars (BC-500) with lower aromaticity were more prone to abiotic oxidation than the high-temperature biochars (BC-700) with higher aromaticity and structurally ordered C. Based on this study, it can be concluded that aging induced changes will be specific for each biochar, i.e. they will depend on both the type of feedstock and pyrolysis temperature. Nonetheless, all biochars will be oxidized to a smaller or greater extent, which will result in an increase in the number of surface oxygen functional groups, an increased degree of their hydrophilicity and polarity, and a decrease in pH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147458DOI Listing
October 2021

Mechanistic insights into the (im)mobilization of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and zinc in a multi-contaminated soil treated with different biochars.

Environ Int 2021 May 21;156:106638. Epub 2021 May 21.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

The effect and mechanistic evidence of biochar on the (im)mobilization of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in multi-contaminated soils, with respect to the role of surface-functional groups and organic/inorganic compounds of biochar, are poorly understood. Herein, biochars produced from grass residues, rice straw, and wood were applied to a mining-soil contaminated with As, Cd, Pb, and Zn for 473-d. Biochars did not reduce the mobilization of Cd and Zn, whereas they simultaneously exhibited disparate effects on As and Pb mobilization. The phenolic hydroxyl and carboxylic groups on the wood biochar's surfaces promoted the conversion of Pb into PbCO/Pb(OH) and/or PbO, minimally by the rice and grass biochars. Rice and grass biochars led to the dissolution of scorodite and the formation of less stable forms of Fe-oxide-bound As (i.e., goethite and ferrihydrite); furthermore, it resulted in the reduction of As(V) to As(III). The PTEs mobilization and phytoavailability was mainly governed by the release of dissolved aliphatic- and aromatic-carbon, chloride, sulfur chemistry, phosphate competition, and the electrostatic repulsion in biochar-treated soils. In conclusion, pristine-biochar has a limited impact on the remediation of multi-contaminated soils, and the use of modified-biochar, possessing higher surface areas and functionality and active exchange sites, are preferred under such conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106638DOI Listing
May 2021

Global Plastic Pollution Observation System to Aid Policy.

Environ Sci Technol 2021 06 24;55(12):7770-7775. Epub 2021 May 24.

Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea.

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges and has received commensurate widespread attention. Although it is a top priority for policymakers and scientists alike, the knowledge required to guide decisions, implement mitigation actions, and assess their outcomes remains inadequate. We argue that an integrated, global monitoring system for plastic pollution is needed to provide comprehensive, harmonized data for environmental, societal, and economic assessments. The initial focus on marine ecosystems has been expanded here to include atmospheric transport and terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. An earth-system-level plastic observation system is proposed as a hub for collecting and assessing the scale and impacts of plastic pollution across a wide array of particle sizes and ecosystems including air, land, water, and biota and to monitor progress toward ameliorating this problem. The proposed observation system strives to integrate new information and to identify pollution hotspots (i.e., production facilities, cities, roads, ports, etc.) and expands monitoring from marine environments to encompass all ecosystem types. Eventually, such a system will deliver knowledge to support public policy and corporate contributions to the relevant United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c00818DOI Listing
June 2021

COVID-19 discarded disposable gloves as a source and a vector of pollutants in the environment.

J Hazard Mater 2021 09 27;417:125938. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Department of Radiochemistry and Environmental Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland. Electronic address:

The appearance of the virus SARS-CoV-2 at the end of 2019 and its spreading all over the world has caused global panic and increase of personal protection equipment usage to protect people against infection. Increased usage of disposable protective gloves, their discarding to random spots and getting to landfills may result in significant environmental pollution. The knowledge concerning possible influence of gloves and potential of gloves debris on the environment (water, soil, etc.), wildlife and humans is crucial to predict future consequences of disposable gloves usage caused by the pandemic. This review focuses on the possibility of chemical release (heavy metals and organic pollutants) from gloves and gloves materials, their adsorptive properties in terms of contaminants accumulation and effects of gloves degradation under environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125938DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8076738PMC
September 2021

Co-hydrothermal carbonization of swine and chicken manure: Influence of cross-interaction on hydrochar and liquid characteristics.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Sep 27;786:147381. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Swine and chicken manures are abundant solid wastes that can be converted into carbonaceous materials through hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). Owing to their unique biochemical compositions, co-HTC of these two types of manures may have significant implications for the generated products. We investigated the co-HTC of swine manure and chicken manure to understand the influence of the interaction between contrasting manures on the properties of the derived products. The results indicated that co-HTC treatment enhanced the formation of solid product and improved the C and N contents, heating value, and energy yield of the resulting hydrochar. Regarding the ignition temperature and comprehensive combustion index, the combustion properties of the hydrochar were enhanced owing to the mutual effect of the HTC intermediates. Additionally, the interaction of the intermediates significantly impacted the transfer of nitrogenous species and generation of organic acids and organic polymers with fused-ring structures. Therefore, co-HTC processing of animal manures could potentially provide a sustainable pathway for the conversion of animal waste into solid products with improved characteristics compared to those produced by treating the two feedstocks separately.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147381DOI Listing
September 2021

Biochar utilisation in the anaerobic digestion of food waste for the creation of a circular economy via biogas upgrading and digestate treatment.

Bioresour Technol 2021 Aug 20;333:125190. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Energy and Environmental Sustainability for Megacities (E2S2) Phase II, Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), 1 Create Way, Singapore 138602, Singapore; Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, NUS, Singapore. Electronic address:

A wood waste-derived biochar was applied to food-waste anaerobic digestion to evaluate the feasibility of its utilisation to create a circular economy. This biochar was first purposed for the upgrading of the biogas from the said anaerobic digestion, before treating and recovering the nutrients in the solid fraction of the digestate, which was finally employed as a biofertilizer for the organic cultivation of three green leafy vegetables: kale, lettuce and rocket salad. Whilst the amount of CO the biochar could absorb from the biogas was low (11.17 mg g), it could potentially be increased by modifying through physical and chemical methods. Virgin as well as CO-laden biochar were able to remove around 31% of chemical oxygen demand, 8% of the ammonia and almost 90% of the total suspended solids from the digestate wastewater, which was better than a dewatering process via centrifugation but worse than the industry standard of a polytetrafluoroethylene membrane bioreactor. Nutrients were recovered in the solid fraction of the digestate residue filtered by the biochar, and utilised as a biofertilizer that performed similarly to a commercial complete fertilizer in terms of aerial fresh weight growth for all three vegetables cultivated. Contingent on the optimal upgrading of biogas, the concept of a circular economy based on biochar and anaerobic digestion appears to be feasible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2021.125190DOI Listing
August 2021

Reimagining aquaculture in the Global South.

Science 2021 04;372(6539):247-248

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955, Saudi Arabia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abi5015DOI Listing
April 2021

Biochar heavy metal removal in aqueous solution depends on feedstock type and pyrolysis purging gas.

Environ Pollut 2021 Jul 7;281:117094. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E3, Canada. Electronic address:

The effectiveness of biochar as a sorptive material to remove contaminants, particularly heavy metals, from water is dependent on biomass type and pyrolysis condition. Biochars were produced from pulp mill sludge (PMS) and rice straw (RS) with nitrogen (N) or carbon dioxide (CO) as the purging gas. The sorptive capacity of the biochars for cadmium(II), copper(II), nickel(II) and lead(II) was studied. The heavy metal adsorption capacity was mainly affected by biomass type, with biochars adsorption capacities higher for lead(II) (109.9-256.4 mg g) than for nickel(II) (40.2-64.1 mg g), cadmium(II) (29.5-42.7 mg g) and copper(II) (18.5-39.4 mg g) based on the Langmuir adsorption model. The highest lead(II) adsorption capacities for PMS and RS biochars were 256.4 and 133.3 mg g, respectively, when generated using N as the purging gas. The corresponding lead(II) adsorption capacities were 250.0 and 109.9 mg g, respectively, when generated using CO as the purging gas. According to the intraparticle diffusion model, 30-62% of heavy metal adsorption was achieved in 1 h; film diffusion was the rate-dominating step, whereas pore diffusion was a rate-limiting step. Ion exchange and complexation between heavy metals and biochar surface functional groups such as carbonyl and hydroxyl groups were effective mechanisms for heavy metal sorption from the aqueous solution. We conclude that proper selection of both the feedstock type and the purging gas is important in designing biochars for the effective removal of potentially toxic metals from wastewater.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117094DOI Listing
July 2021

Carbon-based adsorbents for fluoroquinolone removal from water and wastewater: A critical review.

Environ Res 2021 06 29;197:111091. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. Electronic address:

This review summarizes the adsorptive removal of Fluoroquinolones (FQ) from water and wastewater. The influence of different physicochemical parameters on the adsorptive removal of FQ-based compounds is detailed. Further, the mechanisms involved in the adsorption of FQ-based antibiotics on various adsorbents are succinctly described. As the first of its kind, this paper emphasizes the performance of each adsorbent for FQ-type antibiotic removal based on partition coefficients of the adsorbents that is a more sensitive parameter than adsorption capacity for comparing the performances of adsorbents under various adsorbate concentrations and heterogeneous environmental conditions. It was found that π-π electron donor-acceptor interactions, electrostatic interactions, and pore-filling were the most prominent mechanisms for FQ adsorption by carbon and clay-based adsorbents. Among all the categories of adsorbents reviewed, graphene showed the highest performance for the removal of FQ antibiotics from water and wastewater. Based on the current state of knowledge, this review fills the gap through methodolically understanding the mechanism for further improvement of FQ antibiotics adsorption performance from water and wastewater.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111091DOI Listing
June 2021

Seafood safety data support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Chemosphere 2021 08 19;277:130221. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Principality of Monaco, 98000, Monaco.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130221DOI Listing
August 2021

Adsorption and visible-light photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants by functionalized biochar: Role of iodine doping and reactive species.

Environ Res 2021 06 17;197:111026. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China; City University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, 8 Yuexing 1st Road, Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, 518060, China. Electronic address:

Here we developed the functionalized biochar as low-cost and heavy metal-free photocatalysts via a facile iodine doping method, which exhibit efficient adsorption and visible-light-driven photocatalytic degradation of representative organic pollutants, phenol and tetracycline. On one hand, iodine doping elevates the adsorption via creating extra pores, e.g., the adsorbed amounts of phenol by iodine-doped WSP and OSR biochar are increased by 161.8% and 146.3%, respectively, which in turn facilitates the photocatalytic oxidation of the adsorbed pollutants. On the other hand, iodine doping leads to the strong photo-induced excitation and remarkably reduced charge carrier transfer resistance, boosting the photocatalytic activity of iodine-doped biochar by more than 20 orders towards organic pollutants (e.g., phenol) degradation. The systematic analysis of reactive species reveals the active roles of O, HO, O, OH, electrons, and holes in photocatalytic process and identifies O to be the major contributor. This work affords a facile approach to generating porous and visible-light-driven photocatalyst from biomass for efficient adsorbing and degrading organic pollutants, opening up an avenue to turn biowaste into biomaterials for sustainable environmental remediation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111026DOI Listing
June 2021

Rice genotype's responses to arsenic stress and cancer risk: The effects of integrated birnessite-modified rice hull biochar-water management applications.

Sci Total Environ 2021 May 7;768:144531. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Korea Biochar Research Center & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.

The health risks associated with ingestion of arsenic (As) via consumption of rice are a global concern. This study investigated the effects of integrated biochar (BC)-water management approaches to As stress and to associated health risks in rice. Rice cultivars, Jayanthi and Ishikari, were grown, irrigated with As-containing water (1 mg L), under the following treatments: (1) birnessite-modified rice hull biochar (Mn-RBC)-flooded water management, (2) Mn-RBC-intermittent water management, (3) conventional flooded water management, and (4) intermittent water management. Rice yield in both rice varieties increased by 10%-34% under Mn-RBC-flooded and Mn-RBC-intermittent treatments compared to the conventional flooded treatment. In most cases, inorganic As concentration in rice roots, shoots, husks, and unpolished grains in both rice varieties was significantly (p ≤ 0.05) lowered by 20%-81%, 6%-81%, 30%-75%, and 18%-44%, respectively, under Mn-RBC-flooded, Mn-RBC-intermittent, and intermittent treatments over flooded treatment. Incremental lifetime cancer risks associated with consumption of both rice varieties were also lowered from 18% to 44% under Mn-RBC-flooded, Mn-RBC-intermittent, and intermittent treatments compared to flooded treatment. Overall, the integrated Mn-RBC-intermittent approach can be applied to As-endemic areas to produce safer rice grains and reduce the incremental lifetime cancer risk through rice consumption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144531DOI Listing
May 2021

Fe(III) loaded chitosan-biochar composite fibers for the removal of phosphate from water.

J Hazard Mater 2021 08 19;415:125464. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Excess phosphorous (P) in aquatic systems causes adverse environmental impacts including eutrophication. This study fabricated Fe(III) loaded chitosan-biochar composite fibers (FBC-N and FBC-C) from paper mill sludge biochar produced under N (BC-N) and CO (BC-C) conditions at 600 °C for adsorptive removal of phosphate from water. Investigations using SEM/EDX, XPS, Raman spectroscopy, and specific surface area measurement revealed the morphological and physico-chemical characteristics of the adsorbent. The Freundlich isotherm model well described the phosphate adsorption on BC-N, while the Redlich-Peterson model best fitted the data of three other adsorbents. The maximum adsorption capacities were 9.63, 8.56, 16.43, and 19.24 mg P g for BC-N, BC-C, FBC-N, and FBC-C, respectively, indicating better adsorption by Fe(III) loaded chitosan-biochar composite fibers (FBCs) than pristine biochars. The pseudo-first-order kinetic model suitably explained the phosphate adsorption on BC-C and BC-N, while data of FBC-N and FBC-C followed the pseudo-second-order and Elovich model, respectively. Molecular level observations of the P K-edge XANES spectra confirmed that phosphate associated with iron (Fe) minerals (Fe-P) were the primary species in all the adsorbents. This study suggests that FBCs hold high potential as inexpensive and green adsorbents for remediating phosphate in contaminated water, and encourage resource recovery via bio-based management of hazardous waste.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125464DOI Listing
August 2021

Magnetic biochar production alters the molecular characteristics and biological response of pyrolysis volatile-derived water-soluble organic matter.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jul 1;778:146142. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China; Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai 200092, China; Shanghai Technical Service Platform for Pollution Control and Resource Utilization of Organic Wastes, Shanghai 200438, China. Electronic address:

The formed Fe oxides (minerals) in the magnetic biochar production process can facilitate its recovery and carbon retention rate. However, the influence of Fe oxides on pyrolysis volatile-derived water-soluble organic matter (PVWSOM, also called wood vinegar) has been largely overlooked. Results demonstrated that in-situ formed Fe oxides (α-FeO and FeO) could obviously inhibit biomass cracking and accordingly reduce PVWSOM emissions, as indicated by decreased PVWSOM concentrations from 28.7 to 6.8 mg C/g biomass. FT-ICR MS results further indicated that Fe oxides suppressed the formation of large-molecular-weight PVWSOM compounds with high degree of unsaturation (DBE value > 5) and oxygen content (oxygen number > 5), leading to lower polarity and aromaticity. Therefore, the changes in PVWSOM molecular structures caused by Fe oxides relieved its toxicity on wheat seed growth, and reduced negative impact on soil microbial diversity and promoted soil bacterial Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria. These results indicate that molecular structures of PVWSOM from biomass pyrolysis also can be changed by Fe oxides to affect its application.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146142DOI Listing
July 2021

A critical review on performance indicators for evaluating soil biota and soil health of biochar-amended soils.

J Hazard Mater 2021 07 17;414:125378. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address:

Amendment of soil with biochar has been widely investigated for soil quality improvement in terms of biotic and abiotic functionalities. The performance of biochar-based amendment varies according to the site characteristics, biochar properties, and soil management targets. There is no existing review that summarizes a broad range of performance indicators to evaluate the health of biochar-amended soil. Based on the latest studies on soil amendment with biochar, this review critically analyzes the soil health indicators that reveal the potential impact of biochar amendment with respect to physicochemical properties, biological properties, and overall soil quality. It is found that soil pH, soil aggregate stability, and soil organic matter are the basic indicators that could influence most of the soil functions, which should be prioritized for measurement. Relevant functional indicators (e.g., erosion rate, crop productivity, and ecotoxicity) should be selected based on the soil management targets of biochar application in agricultural soils. With this review, it is expected that target-oriented performance indicators can be selected in future studies for field-relevant evaluation of soil amendment by biochar under different situations. Therefore, a more cost-effective and purpose-driven assessment protocol for biochar-amended soils can be devised by using relevant measurable attributes suggested in this review.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125378DOI Listing
July 2021

Insights into upstream processing of microalgae: A review.

Bioresour Technol 2021 Jun 18;329:124870. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Separation Science, LUT School of Engineering Science, LUT University, Sammonkatu 12, FI-50130 Mikkeli, Finland. Electronic address:

The aim of this review is to provide insights into the upstream processing of microalgae, and to highlight the advantages of each step. This review discusses the most important steps of the upstream processing in microalgae research such as cultivation modes, photobioreactors design, preparation of culture medium, control of environmental factors, supply of microalgae seeds and monitoring of microalgal growth. An extensive list of bioreactors and their working volumes used, elemental composition of some well-known formulated cultivation media, different types of wastewater used for microalgal cultivation and environmental variables studied in microalgae research has been compiled in this review from the vast literature. This review also highlights existing challenges and knowledge gaps in upstream processing of microalgae and future research needs are suggested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2021.124870DOI Listing
June 2021

Set sustainable goals for the Arctic gateway coordinated international governance is required to resist yet another tipping point.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jul 19;776:146003. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience, Arctic Research Centre (ARC), Frederiksborgvej 399, PO Box 358, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark; Henan Province International Collaboration Lab of Forest Resources Utilization, School of Forestry, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China. Electronic address:

Global warming is reducing the Arctic sea-ice and causing energetic stress to marine key predatory species such as polar bears and narwhals contributing to the ongoing pollution already threatening the biodiversity and indigenous people of the vulnerable region. Now, the opening of the Arctic gateway and in particular the increase in shipping activities causes further stress to marine mammals in the region. These shipping activities are foreseen to happen in the Northwest and Northeast Passage, Northern Sea Route and Transpolar Sea Route in the Arctic Ocean, which could be yet another step towards a crucial tipping point destabilizing global climate, including weathering systems and sea-level rise. This calls for international governance through the establishment of Arctic International National Parks and more Marine Protected Areas through the Arctic Council and UN's Law of the Sea to ensure sustainable use of the Arctic Ocean and adjacent waters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146003DOI Listing
July 2021

Arsenic biogeochemical cycling in paddy soil-rice system: Interaction with various factors, amendments and mineral nutrients.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jun 29;773:145040. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang, 550081, China.

Arsenic (As) contamination is a well-recognized environmental and health issue, threatening over 200 million people worldwide with the prime cases in South and Southeast Asian and Latin American countries. Rice is mostly cultivated under flooded paddy soil conditions, where As speciation and accumulation by rice plants is controlled by various geo-environmental (biotic and abiotic) factors. In contrast to other food crops, As uptake in rice has been found to be substantially higher due to the prevalence of highly mobile and toxic As species, arsenite (As(III)), under paddy soil conditions. In this review, we discussed the biogeochemical cycling of As in paddy soil-rice system, described the influence of critical factors such as pH, iron oxides, organic matter, microbial species, and pathways affecting As transformation and accumulation by rice. Moreover, we elucidated As interaction with organic and inorganic amendments and mineral nutrients. The review also elaborates on As (im)mobilization processes and As uptake by rice under the influence of different mineral nutrients and amendments in paddy soil conditions, as well as their role in mitigating As transfer to rice grain. This review article provides critical information on As contamination in paddy soil-rice system, which is important to develop suitable strategies and mitigation programs for limiting As exposure via rice crop, and meet the UN's key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs: 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 12 (responsible consumption and production), and 13 (climate action)).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145040DOI Listing
June 2021

Development of a novel fluorescent biosensor for dynamic monitoring of metabolic methionine redox status in cells and tissues.

Biosens Bioelectron 2021 Apr 29;178:113031. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Department of Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul, 02841, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Aberrant production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leads to tissue damage accumulation, which is associated with a myriad of human pathologies. Although several sensors have been developed for ROS quantification, their applications for ROS-related human physiologies and pathologies still remain problematic due to the unstable nature of ROS. Herein, we developed Trx1-cpYFP-fRMsr (TYfR), a genetically-encoded fluorescent biosensor with the remarkable specificity and sensitivity toward fMetRO (free Methionine-R-sulfoxide), allowing for dynamic quantification of physiological levels of fMetRO, a novel indicator of ROS and methionine redox status in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, using the sensor, we observed a significant fMetRO enrichment in serum from patients with acute coronary syndrome, one of the most severe cardiovascular diseases, which becomes more evident following percutaneous coronary intervention. Collectively, this study proposes that fMetRO is a novel biomarker of tissue damage accumulation in ROS-associated human pathologies, and that TYfR is a promising tool for quantifying fMetRO with potentials in versatile applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2021.113031DOI Listing
April 2021

Carbon sequestration value of biosolids applied to soil: A global meta-analysis.

J Environ Manage 2021 Apr 30;284:112008. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Department of Agronomy, Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506-5501, United States.

Biosolids produced at wastewater treatment facilities are extensively used in agricultural land and degraded mine sites to improve soil health and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks. Many studies have reported increases in SOC due to application of biosolids to such sites. However, lack of a comprehensive quantification on overall trends and changes of magnitude in SOC remains. Here, we performed a meta-analysis to identify drivers with a relationship with SOC stocks. A meta-regression of 297 treatments found four variables with a relationship with SOC stocks: cumulative biosolids carbon (C) input rate, time after application, soil depth and type of biosolids. The cumulative biosolids C input rate was the most influencing driver. The highest mean difference for SOC% of 3.3 was observed at 0-15 cm soil depth for a cumulative C input of 100 Mg ha at one year after biosolids application. Although years after biosolids application demonstrated a negative relationship with SOC stocks, mineralization of C in biosolids-applied soils is slow, as indicated with the SOC% decrease from 4.6 to 2.8 at 0-15 cm soil depth over five years of 100 Mg ha biosolids C input. Soil depth illustrated a strong negative effect with SOC stocks decreasing by 2.7% at 0-15 cm soil depth at a cumulative biosolids C input of 100 Mg ha over a year. Overall, our model estimated an effect of 2.8 SOC% change, indicating the application of biosolids as a viable strategy for soil C sequestration on a global scale.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112008DOI Listing
April 2021

Stabilization of dissolvable biochar by soil minerals: Release reduction and organo-mineral complexes formation.

J Hazard Mater 2021 06 23;412:125213. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China; Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Solid Waste Treatment and Recycling, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China; Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai 200092, China. Electronic address:

Biochar has two existing forms in the moist soil environment, free dissolvable biochar (particle size < 0.45 μm) and undissolvable particles (particle size > 0.45 μm). The release and decomposition of dissolvable biochar from bulk biochar particles is a primary C loss pathway in biochar-amended soils, which would be reduced by their interactions with soil minerals. Most previous studies focused on the effect of feedstock types and pyrolysis conditions on dissolvable biochar stability, while few studies researched the interaction between dissolvable biochar and soil components, for instance the soil minerals, and its effect on the stability of dissolvable biochar. In this study, bentonite and goethite were selected as model soil minerals because of their differences in structure and surface types: negatively charged 2:1 type phyllosilicate (bentonite) and positively charged crystalline mineral (goethite). Dry-wet cycling was conducted to determine the effect of these two minerals on the release of dissolvable biochar from walnut shell-derived biochar particles. The stability of dissolvable biochar was measured by chemical oxidation and biodegradation. Both soil minerals reduced the release of dissolvable biochar by over 34% with the presence of Ca. Mechanisms of "Ca bridging", "ligand exchange" and "van der Waals attraction" contributed to the formation of dissolvable biochar-bentonite complexes, and Ca promoted dissolvable biochar inserting into bentonite interlayer space, expanding d-spacing from 1.25 nm to 1.55 nm. However, "Ca bridging" barely formed on goethite because of charge repulsion, indicating that the dissolvable biochar was bound with goethite mainly by "van der Waals attraction" and "ligand exchange". Due to organo-mineral complexes formation, the chemical oxidation extent of dissolvable biochar was reduced by 22.8-36.5%, and the biodegradation extent was reduced by 72.7-85.0%, since the soil minerals are more effective to prevent the dissolvable biochar from being biodegraded. This study proved soil minerals and Ca were beneficial for enhancing biochar stability, these observations assisted in assessing the biochar ability for long-term carbon sequestration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125213DOI Listing
June 2021

Interactions between microplastics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products: Implications for vector transport.

Environ Int 2021 04 23;149:106367. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Korea Biochar Research Center, APRU Sustainable Waste Management Program & Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, South Korea. Electronic address:

Microplastics are well known for vector transport of hydrophobic organic contaminants, and there are growing concerns regarding their potential adverse effects on ecosystems and human health. However, recent studies focussing on hydrophilic compounds, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), have shown that the compounds ability to be adsorbed onto plastic surfaces. The extensive use of PPCPs has led to their ubiquitous presence in the environment resulting in their cooccurrence with microplastics. The partitioning between plastics and PPCPs and their fate through vector transport are determined by various physicochemical characteristics and environmental conditions of specific matrices. Although the sorption capacities of microplastics for different PPCP compounds have been investigated extensively, these findings have not yet been synthesized and analyzed critically. The specific objectives of this review were to synthesize and critically assess the various factors that affect the adsorption of hydrophilic compounds such as PPCPs on microplastic surfaces and their fate and transport in the environment. The review also focuses on environmental factors such as pH, salinity, and dissolved organics, and properties of polymers and PPCP compounds, and the relationships with sorption dynamics and mechanisms. Furthermore, the ecotoxicological effects of PPCP-sorbed microplastics on biota and human health are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106367DOI Listing
April 2021

Catalytic level identification of ZSM-5 on biomass pyrolysis and aromatic hydrocarbon formation.

Chemosphere 2021 May 31;271:129510. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Green Technology Research Institute, CPC Corporation, Kaohsiung, 811, Taiwan, ROC.

Zeolite socony mobil-5 (ZSM-5) is a common catalyst used for biomass pyrolysis. Nevertheless, the quantitative information on the catalytic behavior of ZSM-5 on biomass pyrolysis is absent so far. This study focuses on the catalytic pyrolysis phenomena and mechanisms of biomass wastes using ZSM-5 via thermogravimetric analyzer and pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, with particular emphasis on catalytic level identification and aromatic hydrocarbons (AHs) formation. Two biomass wastes of sawdust and sorghum distillery residue (SDR) are investigated, while four biomass-to-catalyst ratios are considered. The analysis suggests that biomass waste pyrolysis processes can be divided into three zones, proceeding from a heat-transfer dominant zone (zone 1) to catalysis dominant zones (zones 2 and 3). The indicators of the intensity of difference (IOD), catalytic effective area, catalytic index (CI), and aromatic enhancement index are conducted to measure the catalytic effect of ZSM-5 on biomass waste pyrolysis and AHs formation. The maximum IOD occurs in zone 2, showing the highest intensity of the catalytic effect. The CI values of the two biomass wastes increase with increasing the biomass-to-catalyst ratio. However, there exists a threshold for sawdust pyrolysis, indicating a limit for the catalytic effect on sawdust. The higher the catalyst addition, the higher the AHs proportion in the vapor stream. When the biomass-to-catalyst ratio is 1/10, AHs formation is intensified significantly, especially for sawdust. Overall, the indexes conducted in the present study can provide useful measures to identify the catalytic pyrolysis dynamics and levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129510DOI Listing
May 2021

THE DARK SIDE OF BLACK GOLD: Ecotoxicological aspects of biochar and biochar-amended soils.

J Hazard Mater 2021 02 6;403:123833. Epub 2020 Sep 6.

Department of Radiochemistry and Environmental Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, 3 Maria Curie-Skłodowska Square, 20-031 Lublin, Poland. Electronic address:

Biochar, a product of biomass pyrolysis, is characterized by significant surface area, porosity, high water holding capacity, and environmental persistence. It is perceived as a material that can counteract climate change due to its high carbon stability and is also considered suitable for soil amendment (fertility improvement, soil remediation). However, biochar can have a toxic effect on organisms as harmful substances may be present in it. This paper reviews the literature regarding the current knowledge of harmful substances in biochar and their potential negative impact on organisms from different trophic levels. The effects of biochar on the content and toxicity of harmful substances in biochar-amended soils are also reviewed. Application of biochar into soil does not usually have a toxic effect and very often stimulate plants, bacteria activity and invertebrates. The effect however is strictly determined by type of biochar (especially the feedstock used and pyrolysis temperature) as well as contaminants content. The pH, electrical conductivity, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as heavy metals are the main factor usually responsible for biochar toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123833DOI Listing
February 2021
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