Biochar as a remediation solution for pharmaceutical-contaminated wastewater

Wan Ting Tee, Billie Yan Zhang Hiew, Suchithra Thangalazhy-Gopakumar, Suyin Gan, Lai Yee Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Water pollution caused by the discharge of pharmaceutical residues is a relatively recent environmental issue affecting clean water supply. The worldwide consumption of pharmaceutical products is continually increasing at rapid speed; hence, there is a need to control their concentration in the water resources. Recently, biochar has attracted significant exploration in wastewater treatment due to its abundant availability, facile production, and cost-effectiveness. Additionally, biochar has demonstrated great potential in removing pharmaceutical contaminants from water bodies indicating that it can be an effective, economical, and environmentally friendly resource for wastewater treatment. In this chapter, the main pollution point sources of pharmaceutical compounds are first discussed. Five most prevalent compounds in the current environment classified based on their therapeutic classes are evaluated along with their associated adverse health and environmental effects. The advantages and disadvantages of conventional and advanced removal technologies for pharmaceutical contaminants from the aquatic system are assessed. The chapter further reviews the synthesis methods of biochar as well as the mechanisms involved in the adsorption of pharmaceuticals, in detail. The current and future prospects of biochar in pharmaceuticals removal are also discussed in the context of biochar feasibility and challenges encountered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioChar
Subtitle of host publicationApplications for Bioremediation of Contaminated Systems
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)9783110734003
ISBN (Print)9783110738582
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Adsorption
  • biochar
  • biomass
  • pharmaceutical
  • pyrolysis
  • wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Materials Science


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