AbstractDissolved petroleum-based compounds, e.g. solvents, pesticides, and chemical reagents such as phenolic compounds, can pose significant hazards to the health of humans and ecosystems when they are released to the environment. This review article considers research progress related to the biosorption and removal of such contaminants from water using cellulose-derived materials. The fact that cellulosic materials show promise in removing such sparingly soluble materials from water lends support to a hypothesis that lignocellulosic materials can be broad-spectrum adsorbents. Also, the hydrophobic character and sorption capabilities can be increased through thermal treatment and the preparation of activated carbons. As shown in many studies, the efficiency of uptake of various petrochemical products from water also can be increased by chemical treatments of the adsorbent. It appears that more widespread adoption of biosorption as a means of removing petroleum-based products from water has been limited by concerns about the used, loaded biosorbent. Disposal or regeneration options that need to be considered more in future research include enzymatic and biological treatments, taking advantage of the fact that the biosorbent material is able to collect, immobilize, and concentrate various contaminants in forms that are suited for a number of packed bed or batch-type degradative treatment systems.