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Biochar phosphorus sorption-desorption: Potential phosphorus eutrophication mitigation strategy

Formally Refereed
Authors: Lucy W..Ngatia, Johnny M..Grace III, Daniel Moriasi, Alejandro Bolques, George K..Osei, Robert W..Taylor
Year: 2019
Type: Book Chapter
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: In: Biochar-an imperative amendment for soil and the environment.(InTech Open)


Phosphorus (P) eutrophication in the water bodies is of global concern. The role of biochar in the mitigation of (P) eutrophication has recently received substantial attention. Agriculture is the main source of P in the water bodies, as a result of excessive fertilizer and manure application. Excessive P results in excessive primary production in the water bodies, leading to anoxic conditions, growth of toxic algae blooms, altering plant species composition and biomass. Therefore, resulting in food web disruption, fish kill, toxins production and recreation areas degradation. When biochar is applied on farm, it has potential to sorb/adsorb P, immobilizing it, slowing its translocation to the water bodies. However, biochar effectiveness in P sorption is influenced by both feedstock type and pyrolysis temperature. The interaction between feedstock type and pyrolysis temperature influences the biochar pH, surface area, aromatic carbon, cation exchange capacity, surface charge density, biochar internal porosity and polar and nonpolar surface sites that promote nutrient absorption. Hence, biochar properties have a broad spectrum that influences how biochar reacts with P sorption; therefore, it is not appropriate to extrapolate observed results to different materials. Biochar that promote P sorption rather than desorption should be considered and designed to meet specific management practices.


biochar, desorption, eutrophication, phosphorus, mitigation, sorption


Ngatia, Lucy, W.; Grace III, Johnny, M.; Moriasi, Daniel; Bolques, Alejandro; Osei, George, K.; Taylor, Robert, W. 2019. Biochar phosphorus sorption-desorption: Potential phosphorus eutrophication mitigation strategy. In Biochar-an imperative amendment for soil and the environment.