Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): L.W. Ngatia; Y.P. Hsieh; D. Nemours; R. Fu; R.W. Taylor
    Date: 2017
    Source: Chemosphere
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    Phosphorus (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.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Ngatia, 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.


    Google Scholar


    biochar, carbon, eutrophication, mitigation, pH, phosphorus

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page