Biochar applications in microbial fermentation processes for producing non-methane products: Current status and future prospects

Le Zhang*, To Hung Tsui, Yen Wah Tong, Sigal Sharon, Oded Shoseyov, Ronghou Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this review is to encourage the technical development of biochar-assisted microbial fermentation. To this end, recent advances in biochar applications for microbial fermentation processes (i.e., non-methane products of hydrogen, acids, alcohols, and biofertilizer) have been critically reviewed, including process performance, enhanced mechanisms, and current research gaps. Key findings of enhanced mechanisms by biochar applications in biochemical conversion platforms are summarized, including supportive microbial habitats due to the immobilization effect, pH buffering due to alkalinity, nutrition supply due to being rich in nutrient elements, promoting electron transfer by acting as electron carriers, and detoxification of inhibitors due to high adsorption capacity. The current technical limitations and biochar's industrial applications in microbial fermentation processes are also discussed. Finally, suggestions like exploring functionalized biochar materials, biochar's automatic addition and pilot-scale demonstration are proposed. This review would further promote biochar applications in microbial fermentation processes for the production of non-methane products.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number129478
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Le Zhang would like to thank the financial support from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This research is also supported by the National Research Foundation , Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) Programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Alcohols
  • Biochar promoter
  • Biofertilizer
  • Biohydrogen
  • Organic acids


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