AbstractLignocellulosic feedstocks are often prepared for ethanol fermentation by treatment with a dilute mineral acid catalyst that hydrolyzes the hemicellulose and possibly cellulose into soluble carbohydrates. The acid-catalyzed reaction scheme is sequential, whereby the released monosaccharides are further degraded to furans and other chemicals that are inhibitory to the subsequent fermentation step. This work tests the use of agricultural residues (e.g., plant waste) as starting materials for making activated biochars to adsorb these degradation products. Results show that both furfural and hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) are adsorbed by phosphoric acid-activated and steam-activated biochars prepared from residues collected from cotton and linen production. Best results were obtained with steam-activated biochars. The activated biochars adsorbed about 14% (by weight) of the furfurals at an equilibrium concentration of 0.5 g/L, and by adding 2.5% of char to a sugar solution, with either furfural or HMF (at 1 g/L), 99% of the furans were removed.