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Soil application of biochar produced from biomass grown on trace element contaminated land


Evangelou, Michael W H; Brem, Anette; Ugolini, Fabio; Abiven, Samuel; Schulin, Rainer (2014). Soil application of biochar produced from biomass grown on trace element contaminated land. Journal of environmental management, 146:100-106.

Abstract

Trace element (TE) contamination of soils is a worldwide problem. However, although not considered safe anymore for food production without clean-up, many of these soils may still be used to produce biomass for non-food purposes such as biochar. Exploring the suitability of such biochar for the amendment of low-fertility soil, we investigated growth and metal accumulation of ryegrass (Lolium perenne, var. Calibra) as well as soil microbial abundance on a non-contaminated soil after amendment with biochar from birch (Betula pendula) wood produced on TE contaminated soil in comparison to a treatment with birch wood biochar originating from non-contaminated soil. Biochars were produced from both feedstocks by pyrolysis at two temperatures: 450 and 700 C. During the pyrolysis, in contrast to Cu, Fe, Mg, K, Mn and P, the elements Cd, Pb, S and Na volatilized. The root biomass of the biochar treated plants was lower than that of the non-amended plants, while that of the shoot was higher. Plant shoot K and Zn concentrations were increased significantly by up to 7- and 3.3-fold respectively. For P, Mg, Mn, Fe and Cu no significant increase in shoot concentration could be detected. Neither the TE-contaminated biochar, nor the non-contaminated biochar had adverse effect on the bacterial community of the soil.

Abstract

Trace element (TE) contamination of soils is a worldwide problem. However, although not considered safe anymore for food production without clean-up, many of these soils may still be used to produce biomass for non-food purposes such as biochar. Exploring the suitability of such biochar for the amendment of low-fertility soil, we investigated growth and metal accumulation of ryegrass (Lolium perenne, var. Calibra) as well as soil microbial abundance on a non-contaminated soil after amendment with biochar from birch (Betula pendula) wood produced on TE contaminated soil in comparison to a treatment with birch wood biochar originating from non-contaminated soil. Biochars were produced from both feedstocks by pyrolysis at two temperatures: 450 and 700 C. During the pyrolysis, in contrast to Cu, Fe, Mg, K, Mn and P, the elements Cd, Pb, S and Na volatilized. The root biomass of the biochar treated plants was lower than that of the non-amended plants, while that of the shoot was higher. Plant shoot K and Zn concentrations were increased significantly by up to 7- and 3.3-fold respectively. For P, Mg, Mn, Fe and Cu no significant increase in shoot concentration could be detected. Neither the TE-contaminated biochar, nor the non-contaminated biochar had adverse effect on the bacterial community of the soil.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:17 Nov 2014 15:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:31
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0301-4797
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.07.046

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