Biochars induced modification of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in soil and its impact on mobility and bioaccumulation of arsenic and cadmium

Gang Li, Sardar Khan, Muhammad Ibrahim, Tian Ran Sun, Jian Feng Tang, James B. Cotner, Yao Yang Xu

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72 Scopus citations


Biochar application has attracted great attention due to its diverse uses and benefits in the fields of environmental management and agriculture. Biochar modifies the composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in soil, which directly or indirectly controls the mobility of metal contaminants and their bioaccumulation. In this study, ten different hydrothermal biochars pyrolysed from mushroom waste (MSBC), soybean straw (SBBC), sewage sludge (SSBC), peanut shells (PNBC) and rice straw (RSBC) at two pyrolysis temperatures (200 °C and 350 °C) were used to investigate DOM changes in soil solution and their effects on metal availability and bioaccumulation. Biochar induced modification of soil DOM which was characterized by spectroscopic analysis of water soluble organic carbon, specific absorbance (SUVA254), UV–vis absorption, spectral slope (SR) and the absorption coefficient. Regarding rice plant growth, the biochar effects on biomass were greatly varied. Biochars (except for RSBC and MSBC) prepared at high temperature significantly (P ≤ 0.05) suppressed the availability of As and Cd in soil and their subsequent bioaccumulation in rice plants. The highest reduction (88%) in bioaccumulated As was observed in rice grown on soil amended with SBBC prepared at 350 °C (the highest temperature for hydrothermal technique). The addition of biochars (except RSBC and MSBC) prepared at high temperature markedly (p < 0.05) decreased AsIII (30–92%), while the effects on dimethylarsenic acid (DMA) and arsenate (AsV) concentrations were not significant except for SSBC350 (prepared at 350 °C) treatment. These results highlight the potential of biochar-DOM interactions as an important mechanism for suppressing the mobility and bioaccumulation of As and Cd in biochar-amended paddy agricultural systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Apr 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by National Natural Scientific Foundation of China (Grant NO. 41501519 , 41571130063 ), National Key Research Program ( 2016YFC0502704 ), the Chinese Academy of Sciences Fellowships under Chinese Academy of Sciences President's International Fellowship for Visiting Scientists ( 2015VEB055 ) and open grant from the Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Subtropic Soil and Plant Nutrition, China .


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Biochar
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Metal contaminants
  • Mobility

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