Fabrication of L-cysteine stabilized α-FeOOH nanocomposite on porous hydrophilic biochar as an effective adsorbent for Pb2+ removal

Shuaishuai Zhang, Qing Du, Yuqing Sun, Jingpeng Song, Fan Yang, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Lead (Pb) pollution has caused worldwide attention as it can cause hazards to humans and the environment. Chemical properties and structures of the adsorbent greatly influence the Pb2+ removal efficiency. L-cysteine (L-cy) stabilized porous hydrophilic biochar-supported α-FeOOH nanocomposites (L-cy/FeOOH@PHB) are prepared as an efficient adsorbent via a cheap and simple one-step hydrothermal method for removing Pb2+ from aqueous solution. Characterizations of the synthesized L-cy/FeOOH@PHB revealed that the iron particles distributed uniformly on the surface of porous hydrophilic biochar. The equilibrium adsorption capacity of the L-cy/FeOOH@PHB reaches up to 103.04 mg g−1for Pb2+ removal, higher than other typical materials reported preiously. The adsorption kinetics and isotherms were fitted well with the pseudo-second-order model and the Freundlich model, respectively, suggesting chemical adsorption on the heterogeneous surface and pores of L-cy/FeOOH@PHB. The introduction of L-cysteine provides abundant surface N- and S-containing functional groups as active sites for Pb2+ adsorption and also plays an important role in altering the porous structure, distribution of α-FeOOH nanoparticles, affinity of iron species to biochar, and surface functional groups, which determined the performance of the resultant composites. Notably, regeneration experiments show that Pb2+ adsorption capacity still maintains at 77.3 mg g−1 on L-cy/FeOOH@PHB after five successive utilizations, indicating the potential applicability for removing Pb2+ from aqueous solution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137415
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020


  • Engineered biochar
  • L-cysteine
  • Lead removal
  • Stabilization mechanism
  • α-FeOOH nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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