Application rate, aging and physicochemical properties of soil
Biochar, a byproduct resulting from the pyrolysis of biomass, is considered to be an anthropogenic carbonaceous sorbent. Despite a worldwide increase in the application of biochar on agricultural fields to improve crop productivity over the past few decades, there have been few studies on their influences on the sorption of environmental contaminants. In a field-based study at two experimental sites in Denmark, we investigated the effect of birch wood-derived biochar (Skogans kol) on the sorption of phenanthrene in soils with different properties. The soil sorption coefficient, Kd (L kg-1), of phenanthrene was measured on sandy loam and loamy sand soils which have received from zero up to 100 t ha-1 of biochar. Results show that birch wood biochar had a higher Kd compared to soils. Furthermore, the application of birch wood biochar enhanced the sorption of phenanthrene in agricultural soils, and the enhancement effect increased with an increasing biochar application rate. Aging, repeated application, and higher clay content suppressed the biochar enhancement effect on the sorption of phenanthrene. Phenanthrene Kd was found to be strongly and positively correlated with both total and non-complexed organic carbon, while it negatively correlated with clay content. The results also revealed that biochar-mineral interactions play an important role in the sorption of phenanthrene in biochar-amended soil.
Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 2014, Vol 225, Issue 225, p. 1-13