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Aging impacts of low molecular weight organic acids (LMWOAs) on furfural production residue-derived biochars: Porosity, functional properties, and inorganic minerals

Liu, Guocheng, Chen, Lei, Jiang, Zhixiang, Zheng, Hao, Dai, Yanhui, Luo, Xianxiang, Wang, Zhenyu
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.607-608 pp. 1428-1436
aluminum, aluminum phosphate, biochar, calcium, carbon, citric acid, functional properties, furfural, iron, lead, macropores, magnesium, minerals, molecular weight, nutrients, porosity, potassium, rhizosphere, sulfates, surface area, toxicity
The aging of biochar by low molecular weight organic acids (LMWOAs), which are typical root-derived exudates, is not well understood. Three LMWOAs (ethanoic, malic, and citric acids) were employed to investigate their aging impacts on the biochars from furfural production residues at 300–600°C (BC300–600). The LMWOAs created abundant macropores in BC300, whereas they significantly increased the mesoporosity and surface area of BC600 by 13.5–27.0% and 44.6–61.5%, respectively. After LMWOA aging, the content of C and H of the biochars increased from 51.3–60.2% and 1.87–3.45% to 56.8–69.9% and 2.06–4.45%, respectively, but the O content decreased from 13.8–24.8% to 7.82–19.4% (except BC300). For carbon fraction in the biochars, the LMWOAs barely altered the bulk and surface functional properties during short-term aging. The LMWOAs facilitated the dissolution of minerals (e.g., K2Mg(PO3)4, AlPO4, and Pb2P2O7) and correspondingly promoted the release of not only plant nutrients (K⁺, Ca²⁺, Mg²⁺, Fe³⁺, PO4³⁻, and SO4²–) but also toxic metals (Al³⁺ and Pb²⁺). This research provided systematic insights on the responses of biochar properties to LMWOAs and presented direct evidence for acid activation of inorganic minerals in the biochars by LMWOAs, which could enhance the understanding of environmental behaviors of biochars in rhizosphere soils.