Investigations on phosphorus recovery from aqueous solutions by biochars derived from magnesium-pretreated cypress sawdust

Khouloud Haddad, Salah Jellali*, Mejdi Jeguirim, Aida Ben Hassen Trabelsi, Lionel Limousy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


The ability of biochars, derived from the pyrolysis at 400 °C; 500 °C and 600 °C of pretreated cypress sawdust with 20 wt% magnesium chloride (MgCl2) solutions, in recovering phosphorus from aqueous solutions was investigated under various experimental conditions in batch mode. The experimental results indicated that cypress sawdust pretreatment with MgCl2 induced important modifications of the physical and chemical biochars’ properties favoring phosphorus recovery from the used synthetic solutions. Moreover, phosphorus recovery efficiency increased with the increase of the used pyrolysis temperature. Indeed, for an aqueous pH of 5.2 and a phosphorus concentration of 75 mg L−1, the recovered amounts increased from 19.2 mg g−1 to 33.8 mg g−1 when the used pyrolysis temperature was raised from 400 °C to 600 °C. For all the tested biochars, the phosphorus recovery kinetics data were well fitted by the pseudo-second-order model, and the equilibrium state was obtained after 180 min of contact time. Furthermore, the phosphorus recovery data at equilibrium were well described by the Langmuir model with a maximal recovery capacity of 66.7 mg g−1 for the magnesium pretreated biochar at 600 °C. Phosphorus recovery by the used biochars occurred probably through adsorption onto biochars’ active sites as well as precipitation with magnesium ions as magnesium phosphates components. All these results suggested that biochars derived from MgCl2 pretreated cypress sawdust could be considered as promising materials for phosphorus recovery from wastewaters for a possible further subsequent use in agriculture as amendments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cypress sawdust
  • Desorption
  • Impregnation
  • Magnesium salts
  • Mechanisms
  • Phosphorus
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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