Characterization and utilization of biochars derived from five invasive plant species Bidens pilosa L., Praxelis clematidea, Ipomoea cairica, Mikania micrantha and Lantana camara L. for Cd2+ and Cu2+ removal.
Exotic invasive plants endanger the integrity of agricultural and natural systems throughout the world. Thus, the development of cost-effective and economic application of invasive plants is warranted. Here, we characterized fifteen biochars derived from five invasive plants at different temperatures (300, 500, and 700°C) by determining their yield, ash content, pH, CEC, surface area, elementary composition, functional groups, and mineral composition. We conducted batch adsorption experiments to investigate the adsorption capacity and efficiency for Cd2+ and Cu2+ in wastewater. Our results suggest that all invasive plants are appropriate for biochar production, temperature and plant species had interacting effects on biochar properties, and the biochars pyrolyzed at 500 and 700°C exhibited high metal adsorption capacity in neutral (pH = 7) solutions. The adsorption kinetics can be explained adequately by a pseudo-second-order model. BBC500 (Bidens pilosa L. derived biochar at 500°C) and MBC500 (Mikania micrantha) exhibited higher metal equilibrium adsorption capacities (38.10 and 38.02 mg g-1 for Cd2+, 20.01 and 20.10 mg g-1 for Cu2+) and buffer abilities to pH than other biochars pyrolyzed at 500°C. The Langmuir model was a better fit for IBC500 (Ipomoea cairica), MBC500, and LBC500 (Lantana camara L.) compared to the Freundlich model, whereas the opposite was true for BBC500 and PBC500 (Praxelis clematidea). These results suggest that the adsorption of metals by IBC500, MBC500, and LBC500 was mainly monolayer adsorption, while that by BBC500 and PBC500 was mainly chemical adsorption. Our results are important for the utilization and control of invasive plants as well as the decontamination of aqueous pollution.