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Screening biochars for heavy metal retention in soil: Role of oxygen functional groups

TitleScreening biochars for heavy metal retention in soil: Role of oxygen functional groups
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsUchimiya, Minori, Chang SeChin, and Klasson Thomas K.
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials

Oxygen-containing carboxyl, hydroxyl, and phenolic surface functional
    groups of soil organic and mineral components play central roles
    in binding metal ions, and biochar amendment can provide means of
    increasing these surface ligands in soil. In this study, positive
    matrix factorization (PMF) was first employed to fingerprint the
    principal components responsible for the stabilization of heavy metals
    (Cu, Ni, Cd, Pb) and the release of selected elements (Na, Ca, K,
    Mg, S, Al, P, Zn) and the pH change in biochar amended soils. The
    PMF analysis indicated that effective heavy metal stabilization occurred
    concurrently with the release of Na, Ca, S, K, and Mg originating
    from soil and biochar, resulting in as much as an order or magnitude
    greater equilibrium concentrations relative to the soil-only control.
    In weathered acidic soil, the heavy metal (especially Pb and Cu)
    stabilization ability of biochar directly correlated with the amount
    of oxygen functional groups revealed by the O/C ratio, pHpzc, total
    acidity, and by the 1H NMR analysis. Equilibrium speciation calculation
    showed minor influence of hydrolysis on the total soluble metal concentration,
    further suggesting the importance of binding by surface ligands of
    biochar that is likely to be promoted by biochar-induced pH increase.