Interactions between white and black carbon in water: A case study of concurrent aging of microplastics and biochar

Shi Yao, Ni Ni, Xiaona Li, Na Wang, Yongrong Bian, Xin Jiang, Yang Song, Nanthi S. Bolan, Qiaozhi Zhang, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microplastics and biochar, as particulate matter that is prevalent in the water environment, will inevitably encounter and interact with each other during environmental aging. The potential interaction of microplastics and biochar, and the associated impact on their environmental behavior remains largely unknown. In this study, we exposed microplastics and biochar concurrently to ultraviolet light to mimic the aging process, investigated the release and fluorescence characteristics of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in water, and analyzed the effects of co-existing microplastics and biochar on their sorption of organic contaminants. We demonstrate that early-stage interactions of microplastics and biochar could entangle to promote the release of DOM from biochar, while their long-term interactions after light irradiation resulted in the sorption of hydrophobic and small molecules of microbial byproduct-like DOM. Simultaneously, early-stage interactions of microplastics and biochar showed a promotion for sorption of organic contaminants with an increase of 5.3–17.7%. After aging, however, long-term interactions between microplastics and biochar made it no longer promote the sorption of organic contaminants due to the influence of heterogeneous aggregation. Our results provide new insights into the time-dependent interactions between microplastics and biochar and highlight the need to incorporate their interactions into future environmental risk assessments for microplastics in the water environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120006
JournalWater Research
Volume238
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Biochar
  • Contaminant sorption
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Fluorescence
  • Microplastics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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