Production Temperature Effects on the Structure of Hydrochar-Derived Dissolved Organic Matter and Associated Toxicity

Shilai Hao, Xiangdong Zhu, Yuchen Liu, Feng Qian, Zhi Fang, Quan Shi, Shicheng Zhang, Jianmin Chen, Zhiyong Jason Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Hydrochar is a carbonaceous material derived from hydrothermal liquefaction, and it carries good potential as a new material for environmental applications. However, little is known about the dissolved organic matter (DOM) associated with hydrochar and the consequences of its release. The relationship between the production temperature and the characteristics of DOM released from hydrochar as well as the associated biotoxicity was investigated using a suite of advanced molecular and spectroscopic tools. With the increase in production temperature, the resulted hydrochar-based DOM contained a higher content of phenols and organic acids but less sugars and furans. Meanwhile, the molecular structure of DOM shifted to lower molecular weight with higher organic contents containing <6 O atoms per compound, aromatics, and N-containing substances. While low-temperature hydrochar-derived DOM showed minimal biotoxicity, increase in production temperature to 330 °C led to a great rise in toxicity. This might be attributed to the increased contents of phenols, organic acids, and organics containing <6 O atoms and 1 N atom per compound. These results suggest that hydrochar-derived DOM have more negative impacts on the environment than the organics associated with biochar production. Such understanding highlights the importance of controlling the hydrochar production process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7486-7495
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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