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Phenolic acid sorption to biochars from mixtures of feedstock materials

K. E. Hall, M. J. Calderon, K. A. Spokas, L. Cox, W. C. Koskinen, J. Novak, K. Cantrell
Water, air and soil pollution 2014 v.225 no.7 pp. 2031
Panicum virgatum, adsorption, bioavailability, biochar, feedstocks, ferulic acid, pig manure, poultry, pyrolysis, silt, soil, soil amendments, syringic acid
In an effort to customize biochars for soil amendments, multiple feedstocks have been combined in various ratios prior to pyrolysis. The resulting variation in the chemistry and structure can affect a biochar’s adsorption capacity, which influences the bioavailability of many chemical compounds in the soil system including phenolic acids. This study characterizes the sorption of 14C-labeled ferulic acid, syringic acid, and chlorocatechol to four biochars prepared from individual feedstocks and four from mixed feedstocks using batch equilibration. Pure feedstock biochar sorption followed switchgrass< swine solids< poultry litter< pine chip for both ferulic (Kd= 1.4-75) and syringic acid (Kd= 0.07-6.03), and appeared to be influenced by the properties of the biochars as well as the chemicals themselves. All biochar Kd values, except pine chip, were lower than that of the reference soil (Waukegan silt loam). The sorptive properties of the combined feedstock biochars could not be predicted from their pure feedstock components and sorption coefficients were both unexpectedly higher and lower than the individual parent materials’ biochars. Further research is necessary to understand the characteristics of these combination biochars, particularly their sorption, which this study has shown is not merely an intermediary of its components.