Destruction of Perfluoroalkyl Acids Accumulated in Typha latifolia through Hydrothermal Liquefaction

Weilan Zhang, Huimin Cao, Seshasayee Mahadevan Subramanya, Phillip Savage, Yanna Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


To investigate whether hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) could degrade perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) accumulated in plant biomass, we first evaluated degradation of individual and mixed PFAAs in pure aqueous solutions. It was found that all five perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) were removed completely after 2 h at 300 °C. Three perfluorosulfonic acids (PFSAs) had removal efficiencies of less than 20%. With the amendment of KOH, however, the removal of PFSAs by HTL increased significantly to 85.9 ± 1.2%. HTL also removed PFAAs accumulated in common cattails (Typha latifolia). Regarding PFCAs, nearly 100% disappearance after HTL was observed. Specific to perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), one of the PFSAs, the removal of this compound in roots was 98.4%. For shoots, it was 49.7%. These promising results point to the need for further investigation so that HTL can be optimized to handle biomass of plants used for phytoremediation of PFAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9257-9262
Number of pages6
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 29 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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