Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mlsna, Todd E.

Committee Member

Wipf, David O.

Committee Member

Mlsna, Debra Ann

Committee Member

Patrick, Amanda

Committee Member

Chambers, Janice E.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


Continuous population growth and rapid industrial advancement and development have paved the way for ever increasing environmental pollution. At present, water pollution is a serious global issue that threatens environmental sustainability. The contamination of aquatic bodies with potentially toxic organic and inorganic substances are the result of world-wide anthropogenic activities. These pollutants can have detrimental health consequences on humans and ecosystems. Over the past decades, techniques such as chemical precipitation, ion-exchange, adsorption, membrane filtration, and electrocoagulation-flocculation have been developed and employed for the treatment of drinking and wastewater. Among the currently available techniques, pollutant removal by adsorption is most promising due to its cost-effectiveness, simplicity in operation, environmental friendliness, and abundance of adsorbents. This study emphasized the utilization of biochar (BC), after appropriate surface modification, for the removal of potentially toxic contaminants. In the first study, a base activated biochar was synthesized by treating the biochar with potassium hydroxide (KOH) at 700 ℃ in a muffle furnace for 1 h. The resulting high surface area biochar (KOHBC) was used for the removal of Cr(VI), Pb(II) and Cd(II). In the second study, a biochar-supported polyaniline hybrid was synthesized for aqueous chromium and nitrate adsorption. Introduction of amine and imine groups to the biochar facilitated the removal of these contaminants. In the final study, a composite containing Fe-Ti oxide/biochar (Fe2TiO5/BC) was synthesized for sorptive removal of metal cations, oxy anions, inorganics, and organic contaminants from aqueous solutions. Additionally, this composite was used as a photocatalyst towards aqueous methylene blue (MB) degradation. The surface chemistry and composition of these adsorbents were examined by PZC SEM, TEM, XPS, FTIR, TGA, elemental analysis, and surface area measurements.


Department of Chemistry