Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 23, pp 23315–23327 | Cite as

Conversion of Eragrostis plana Nees leaves to activated carbon by microwave-assisted pyrolysis for the removal of organic emerging contaminants from aqueous solutions

  • Mariene R. Cunha
  • Eder C. Lima
  • Nilton F. G. M. Cimirro
  • Pascal S. Thue
  • Silvio L. P. Dias
  • Marcos A. Gelesky
  • Guilherme L. Dotto
  • Glaydson S. dos Reis
  • Flávio A. Pavan
Research Article


Eragrostis plana Nees leaves, abundant lignocellulosic biomass, was used as carbon source for preparation of activated carbon, by using microwave-assisted pyrolysis and chemical activation. The novel activated carbon (MWEPN) was characterised by FTIR, CHN elemental analysis, Boehm’s titration method, TGA, SEM, N2 adsorption/desorption curves and pH of the point of zero charge (pHpzc). Afterwards, the adsorbent was successfully employed for adsorption of the two emerging contaminants (caffeine and 2-nitrophenol). The results indicated that MWEPN had a predominantly mesoporous structure with a high surface area of 1250 m2 g−1. FTIR analysis indicated the presence of carbonyl, hydroxyl and carboxylic groups on the surface of MWEPN. The Boehm analysis showed the existence of the high amount of acid moieties on the surface of activated carbon. Adsorption kinetic indicated that the system followed the Avrami fractional order at the optimal pH of 7. The equilibrium time was attained at 30 min. The Liu isotherm model better described the isothermal data. Based on the Liu isotherm, the maximum sorption capacities (Qmax) of caffeine and 2-nitrophenol adsorbed onto activated carbon at 25 °C were 235.5 and 255.8 mg g−1, respectively.


Eragrostis plana Nees leaves Activated carbon Microwave-assisted pyrolysis Emerging contaminant Caffeine 2-Nitrophenol 



The authors are thankful to FAPERGS, CAPES and CNPq for the financial support and sponsorship. We are also thankful to the Centre of Electron Microscopy of the South Zone (CEME-Sul) for the use of the SEM microscope. Also, we are grateful to Chemaxon for furnishing an academic research licence for the Marvin Sketch software, Version 18.9.0, (, 2018, used for emerging organic contaminants physical-chemical properties.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2439_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (675 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 675 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariene R. Cunha
    • 1
  • Eder C. Lima
    • 2
  • Nilton F. G. M. Cimirro
    • 1
  • Pascal S. Thue
    • 2
  • Silvio L. P. Dias
    • 2
  • Marcos A. Gelesky
    • 3
  • Guilherme L. Dotto
    • 4
  • Glaydson S. dos Reis
    • 5
  • Flávio A. Pavan
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal University of Pampa (UNIPAMPA)BagéBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of ChemistryFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.School of Chemistry and FoodFederal University of Rio Grande (FURG)Rio GrandeBrazil
  4. 4.Chemical Engineering DepartmentFederal University of Santa Maria (UFSM)Santa MariaBrazil
  5. 5.Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (PPGE3M), School of EngineeringFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil

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