This study aims to discover the impact of composting and pyrolysis on the adsorption performance of Auricularia auricula dreg (AAD) for Cd(II) in aqueous solution. Auricularia auricula dreg (AAD), Auricularia auricula dreg biochar (AADB) and Auricularia auricula dreg compost (AADC) were used to remove Cd(II) from aqueous solution, and their adsorption conditions and mechanisms were compared. The adsorption quantity of three adsorbents reached the maximum (AAD: 80.0 mg/g, AADB: 91.7 mg/g, AADC: 93.5 mg/g) under same conditions (adsorbent dosage of 1 g/L, pH 5.0, biosorption temperature of 25 °C, and biosorption time of 120 min). All Cd(II) biosorption processes onto three adsorbents complied with the Langmuir isotherm model and the pseudo-second-order kinetic equation, and spontaneously occurred in an order of AADC > AADB > AAD. The difference in biosorption quantity relied on variation in surface structure, crystal species and element content caused by composting or pyrolysis. Composting enhanced the changes in surface structure, crystal species, functional groups and ion exchange capacity of the AAD, resulting in AAD had greatly improved the biosorption quantity of Cd(II). Pyrolysis increased the adsorption of Cd(II) mainly by increasing the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) surface area, the particle size and pH, in the same time, providing more oxygen-containing functional groups.

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