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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 4, p. 1138-1149
    Received: Mar 30, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): sophie.uchimiya@ars.usda.gov
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Retention of Heavy Metals in a Typic Kandiudult Amended with Different Manure-based Biochars

  1. Minori Uchimiya *a,
  2. Keri B. Cantrellb,
  3. Patrick G. Huntb,
  4. Jeffrey M. Novakb and
  5. SeChin Changa
  1. a USDA–ARS Southern Regional Research Center, 1100 Robert E. Lee Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70124
    b USDA-ARS Coastal Plains Soil, Water & Plant Research Center, 2611 W. Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Assigned to Associate Editor Rainer Schulin


Although nutrient-rich manure biochars are expected to be an effective heavy metal stabilizer in agricultural and contaminated soils, systematic studies are lacking to predict the influence of manure variety and pyrolysis temperature on metal-binding potentials. In this study, biochars produced from five manure varieties (dairy, paved feedlot, swine solids, poultry litter, and turkey litter) at two pyrolytic temperatures (350 and 700°C) were examined for the stabilization of Pb, Cu, Ni, and Cd in a weathered, acidic Norfolk loamy sand (fine-loamy, kaolinitic, thermic, Typic Kandiudult). Equilibrium concentrations in the aqueous phase were determined for heavy metals (Cu, Ni, Cd, and Pb) and additional selected elements (Na, P, S, Ca, Mg, Al, and K); these were analyzed by positive matrix factorization to quantitatively determine the factors responsible for the biochar’s ability to bind the selected heavy metals in soil. Concurrently with the greatest increase in pH and highest equilibrium Na, S, and K concentrations, poultry litter, turkey litter, and feedlot 700°C biochar exhibited the greatest heavy metal retention. In contrast, manure varieties containing disproportionately high (swine) and low (dairy) ash, P, and other elements were the least effective stabilizers. Regardless of the manure type, proton nuclear magnetic resonance analyses showed the removal of leachable aliphatic and nitrogen-containing heteroaromatic functional groups at the higher (700°C) pyrolysis temperature. Consistently greater Cu retention by the 700°C biochar indicated the mobilization of Cu by 350°C biochar-born dissolved organic carbon; however, the influence of other temperature-dependent biochar characteristics cannot be ruled out.

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