In this study, p(acrylamide)-chicken biochar (p(AAm)-CB), p(acrylamide)-wood biochar (p(AAm)-WB), and p(acrylamide)-tire biochar (p(AAm)-TB) hydrogel composites were prepared using acrylamide (AAm) as monomer with the corresponding biochars, with N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide (MBA) as crosslinker and ammonium persulfate (APS) as initiator. P(AAm)-CB, p(AAm)-WB, and p(AAm)-TB were used as adsorbents to remove phenol from aqueous environments. The synthesized p(AAm)-CB, p(AAm)-WB, p(AAm)-TB and p(AAm) hydrogel composites had swelling values of 1112, 1045, 847, and 623%, respectively in distilled water. The prepared hydrogel biochar material compositions were examined using an elemental analyzer. Absorption of phenol into p(AAm)-WB was studied at different pHs to determine the optimum pH for maximum removal of phenol. The ionic strength of the medium was varied between 0.01 and 1 mol L-1 to determine the effect of salt (NaCl) on the absorption characteristics and it was found that the absorption of phenol increased with a decrease in the amount of salt. Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms were applied to describe the absorption characteristics and the Langmuir isotherm describes the absorption phenomena in this study much better than the Freundlich isotherm. Pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order kinetic studies were also applied to determine absorption characteristic. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.