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Potential phosphorus eutrophication mitigation strategy: Biochar carbon composition, thermal stability and pH influence phosphorus sorptionAuthor(s): L.W. Ngatia; Y.P. Hsieh; D. Nemours; R. Fu; R.W. Taylor
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
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DescriptionPhosphorus (P) eutrophication is a major pollution problem globally, with unprecedented amount of P emanating from agricultural sources. But little is known about the optimization of soil-biochar P sorption capacity. The study objective was to determine how biochar feedstocks and pyrolysis conditions influences carbon (C) thermal stability, C composition and pH and in turn influence the phosphorus sorption optimization. Biochar was produced from switchgrass, kudzu and Chinese tallow at 200, 300, 400, 500, 550, 650,750 °C. Carbon thermal stability was determined by multi-element scanning thermal analysis (MESTA), C composition was determined using solid state 13C NMR. Phosphorus sorption was determined using a mixture of 10% biochar and 90% sandy soil after incubation. Results indicate increased P sorption (P < 0.0001) and decreased P availability (P < 0.0001) with increasing biochar pyrolysis temperature. However, optimum P sorption was feedstock specific with switchgrass indicating P desorption between 200 and 550 °C. Phosphorus sorption was in the order of kudzu > switchgrass > Chinese tallow. Total C, C thermal stability, aromatic C and alkalinity increased with elevated pyrolysis temperature. Biochar alkalinity favored P sorption. There was a positive relationship between high thermal stable C and P sorption for Kudzu (r = 0.62; P = 0.0346) and Chinese tallow (r = 0.73; P = 0.0138). In conclusion, biochar has potential for P eutrophication mitigation, however, optimum biochar pyrolysis temperature for P sorption is feedstock specific and in some cases might be out of 300–500 °C temperature range commonly used for agronomic application. High thermal stable C dominated by aromatic C and alkaline pH seem to favor P sorption.
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CitationNgatia, L.W., Hsieh, Y.P., Nemours, D., Fu, R., Taylor, R.W. 2017.Potential phosphorus eutrophication mitigation strategy: Biochar carbon composition, thermal stability and pH influence phosphorus sorption. Chemosphere. 180: 201-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.04.012.
Keywordsbiochar, carbon, eutrophication, mitigation, pH, phosphorus
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