Synergistic Impact of Biochar Nanorods on the Performance of Polyacrylamide Matrix: UV-assisted Degradation of Phenol and Biological Activity

Document Type : Original Article


1 Mansoura University, Mansoura 35516, Egypt

2 Packaging Materials Department, National Research Centre, 33 El Behooth St., Dokki, Giza, Egypt

3 Packaging Materials, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt

4 Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Mansoura University, 35516-Mansoura, Egypt


Phenol is present on the top list of toxic pollutants. Enormous researches discussed phenol removal from the wastewater with hydrogels incorporated with biochar utilizing adsorption technique. However, no available information has been recorded investigating the ability of biochar-based nanocomposite hydrogel to degrade phenol under light irradiation as well as studying its biological activity. Accordingly, this work aims at preparation of the biochar nanorods (BNRs) from the rice husk as a precursor. Then, BNRs were included in the polyacrylamide matrix (PAH) via in-situ polymerization with 0.15 wt.%. The obtained BNRs, PAH, and their nanocomposite hydrogel (PABN) were well-characterized. Scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscope, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transfer infrared (FTIR) confirmed the successful preparation of biochar rods in the nano scale and its effective inclusion in the PAH matrix. Also, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) exhibited improvement in the thermal stability of PABN by ~ 10 %. Moreover, surface texture, in terms of surface area and pore size/radius, and the energy band gap were determined with the N2 adsorption-desorption and the spectroscopic analysis, respectively, for the obtained hydrogels. The removal of phenol was implemented under UV luminance and in the dark. Despite, PABN has a lower surface area and a larger band gap, it exhibited 90 % removal of phenol under the irradiation conditions and 65 % in the dark, higher than the pristine matrix, confirming the impact of photocatalysis. Antimicrobial evaluation proved the biocidal potential of PABN against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in addition to yeast. It could be claimed that the obtained nanocomposite hydrogel-based biochar and polyacrylamide paves the way towards a next generation of highly effective photocatalysts and bactericidal agent for water treatment applications with economic and environmental impacts.


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