Utilization of agrowaste materials for the production of activated carbon, as an excellent adsorbent with large surface area, is well established industrially, for dephenolation of wastewater. In the present work, dried pods of Prosopis cineraria-a novel and low-cost agrowaste material-were used to prepare activated carbons by zinc chloride activation. Batch adsorption experiments were carried out to study the effects of various physicochemical parameters such as initial phenol concentration, adsorbent dose, initial solution pH, and temperature. Pseudo-first-order second-order and diffusion kinetic models were used to identify the possible mechanisms of such adsorption process. The Langmuir and Freundlich equations were used to analyze the adsorption equilibrium. Maximum removal efficiency of 86 % was obtained with 25 mg L(-1) of initial phenol concentration. The favorable pH for maximum phenol adsorption was 4.0. Freundlich equation represented the adsorption equilibrium data more ideally than the Langmuir. The maximum adsorption capacity obtained was 78.32 mg g(-1) at a temperature of 30 °C and 25 mg L(-1) initial phenol concentration. The adsorption was spontaneous and endothermic. The pseudo-second-order model, an indication of chemisorption mechanism, fitted the experimental data better than the pseudo-first-order Lagergren model. Regeneration of spent activated carbon was carried out using Pseudomonas putida MTCC 2252 as the phenol-degrading microorganism. Maximum regeneration up to 57.5 % was recorded, when loaded phenol concentration was 25 mg L(-1). The data obtained in this study would be useful in designing and fabricating an efficient treatment plant for phenol-rich effluents.
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