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Bioavailability of Cd and Zn in soils treated with biochars derived from tobacco stalk and dead pigs

Yang, Xing, Lu, Kouping, McGrouther, Kim, Che, Lei, Hu, Guotao, Wang, Qiuyue, Liu, Xingyuan, Shen, Leilei, Huang, Huagang, Ye, Zhengqian, Wang, Hailong
Journal of soils and sediments 2017 v.17 no.3 pp. 751-762
Nicotiana tabacum, application rate, bioavailability, biochar, cadmium, carbonates, electrical conductivity, heavy metals, oxides, pH, phytomass, plant growth, polluted soils, roots, shoots, soil amendments, soil sampling, swine, tobacco, zinc
PURPOSE: Previous studies show that application of biochar can reduce the bioavailability of heavy metals in soil. A plant growth experiment was carried out to evaluate the effect of tobacco stalk- and dead pig-derived biochars on the extractability and redistribution of cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in contaminated soil, and the impact on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) plant growth. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The top 20 cm of a soil contaminated with Cd and Zn was used in this study. Biochars derived from tobacco stalk and dead pig were applied to the soil at four application rates (0, 1, 2.5, and 5 %), and tobacco plants were grown. After 80-days growth, the pH, electrical conductivity (EC), CaCl₂-extractable heavy metals and fractions of heavy metals in soil samples, as well as the plant biomass and the concentrations of heavy metals in the plant were determined. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The plant growth experiment demonstrated that tobacco stalk biochar and dead pig biochar significantly (P < 0.05) increased the pH, but had no significant effect on the electrical conductivity (EC) of the soil. The CaCl₂-extractable Cd and Zn content decreased as the application rates increased. The concentration of extractable Cd and Zn decreased by 64.2 and 94.9 %, respectively, for the tobacco stalk biochar treatment, and 45.8 and 61.8 %, respectively, for the dead pig biochar treatment at 5 % application rate. After biochar addition, the exchangeable Cd was mainly transformed to fractions bound to carbonates and Fe-Mn oxides, while the Zn was immobilized mainly in the fraction bound to Fe-Mn oxides. Tobacco stalk biochar increased the tobacco plant biomass by 30.3 and 36.2 % for shoot and root, respectively at the 5 % application rate. Dead pig biochar increased the tobacco plant biomass by 43.5 and 40.9 % for shoot and root, respectively, at the 2.5 % application rate. Both biochars significantly (P < 0.05) decreased the Cd and Zn accumulation by tobacco plant. CONCLUSIONS: As a soil amendment, tobacco stalk biochar was more effective at removing Cd, whereas dead pig biochar was more effective at removing Zn, and a higher application rate was more effective than a lower application rate. Overall, biochar derived from tobacco stalk was more effective, than dead pig biochar, at remediating soil contaminated with Cd and Zn, as well as promoting tobacco growth.