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Biochar from sewage sludge and pruning trees reduced porewater Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations in acidic, but not basic, mine soils under hydric conditions
- Álvarez-Rogel, José, Tercero Gómez, María del Carmen, Conesa, Héctor M., Párraga-Aguado, Isabel, González-Alcaraz, María Nazaret
- Journal of environmental management 2018 v.223 pp. 554-565
- Sarcocornia fruticosa, acid soils, bioaccumulation, biochar, cadmium, calcium carbonate, flooded conditions, lead, mined soils, organic carbon, pH, plant growth, plant litter, pollutants, poly(vinyl chloride), redox potential, roots, sewage sludge, soil amendments, temperature, trees, water solubility, water table, wet environmental conditions, wetlands, zinc
- This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of biochar from sewage sludge -BSS- and from pruning trees -BPT- (addition dose of 6% d.w.) to immobilise metals in acidic (pH ∼ 4.7) and basic (pH ∼ 7.4) mine soils under variable flooding conditions, and to determine biochar influence on plant (Sarcocornia fruticosa -Sf-) growth and metal uptake. BSS had lower pH (∼8.2 vs. ∼ 9.8), CaCO3 (∼71 vs. ∼ 85 g kg−1), total organic carbon (∼354 vs. ∼ 656 g kg−1) and higher water soluble organic carbon (WSOC ∼ 0.15 vs ∼ 0.06 mg kg−1) than BPT. PVC columns (15 × 30 cm) were prepared with the following treatments (n = 4): 1) no Biochar-no Sf; 2) no Biochar-Sf; 3) BSS-no Sf; 4) BSS-Sf; 5) BPT-no Sf; 6) BPT-Sf. Changes in water table level (WL) were simulated for 303 days with tap water (upper 0–15 cm alternating flooding-drying conditions, lower 15–30 cm always underwater). The pH, redox potential (Eh), temperature and porewater WSOC, Zn, Cd and Pb concentrations were regularly measured, and plants were removed at the end and length, fresh weight and metal concentrations in tissues measured. In the basic soil, there were no consistent evidences that BSS and BPT were effective decreasing porewater metal concentrations and reducing metal uptake in plants. Sf contributed to mobilise Zn, and in less extent Cd, in the upper soil layer, regardless of the type of biochar, and this effect increased with aging. In the acidic soil, BSS and BPT were effective increasing the pH and decreasing porewater metals. BSS increased its efficiency with aging, which can be mainly attributable to the more reduced conditions that induced (lower Eh values) due to its higher WSOC content. Biochar was effective hindering metal mobilisation by Sf and reducing plant's metal uptake (e.g. reduction in roots: ∼7 fold for Zn, ∼19-fold for Cd and ∼ 2-fold for Pb). BSS was more effective promoting Sf growth (fresh weight) than BPT. Therefore, in relation with the use of biochar from sewage sludge and from pruning trees as soil amendments under flooding-non flooding conditions, we can conclude that it can be a useful option in acidic mine soils for decreasing water soluble metals and improving plant growth. However, in basic mine soils, we have no evidences to support the advantages of using these two types of biochar as amendments. Hence, the use of biochar in metal-polluted wetlands has environmental implications that must be planned for each specific case in order to optimize the positive aspects (wetland as sinks of pollutants) and reduce the drawbacks (wetland as source of pollutants).