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Biochar-microorganism interactions for organic pollutant remediation: Challenges and perspectives

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Santanu Mukherjee
  • Binoy Sarkar
  • Vijay Kumar Aralappanavar
  • Raj Mukhopadhyay
  • Biraj B. Basak
  • Prashant Srivastava
  • Olga Marchut-Mikołajczyk
  • Amit Bhatnagar
  • Kirk T. Semple
  • Nanthi Bolan
Article number119609
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Pollution
Number of pages17
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date11/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Numerous harmful chemicals are introduced every year in the environment through anthropogenic and geological activities raising global concerns of their ecotoxicological effects and decontamination strategies. Biochar technology has been recognized as an important pillar for recycling of biomass, thereby contributing to the carbon capture and bioenergy industries, and remediation of contaminated soil, sediments and water. This paper aims to critically review the application potential of biochar with a special focus on the synergistic and antagonistic effects on contaminant-degrading microorganisms in single and mixed-contaminated systems. Owing to the high specific surface area, porous structure, and compatible surface chemistry, biochar can support the proliferation and activity of contaminant-degrading microorganisms. A combination of biochar and microorganisms to remove a variety of contaminants has gained popularity in the recent years, other than traditional chemical and physical remediation technologies. The microbial compatibility of biochar can be improved by optimizing the surface parameters so that toxic pollutant release is minimized, biofilm formation is encouraged, and microbial populations are enhanced. Biocompatible biochar thus shows potential in the bioremediation of organic contaminants by harboring microbial populations, releasing contaminant-degrading enzymes, and protecting beneficial microorganisms from immediate toxicity of surrounding contaminants. This review recommends that biochar-microorganism co-deployment holds a great potential for the removal of contaminants thereby reducing the risk of organic contaminants to human and environmental health.