Soil lead immobilization by biochars in short-term laboratory incubation studies

Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Eilhann E. Kwon, Meththika Vithanage, Jörg Rinklebe, Deok Hyun Moon, Erik Meers, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Exchangeable lead (Pb) extracted by ammonium acetate from three independent incubation studies was assessed to understand the influence of feedstock, pyrolysis temperatures, and production conditions on Pb immobilization capacities of different biochars. Vegetable waste biochar, pine cone, wood bark, cocopeat, red pepper stalk, and palm kernel shell were used as feedstocks (food supply and agricultural wastes) to produce biochars at 200–650 °C with and without N2/CO2. Biochars were applied at 5 and 2.5% (w w−1) to a Pb contaminated (i.e., 1445 mg kg−1) agricultural soil collected near an old mine. Lead immobilization in biochar treated soils at the end of incubation period was normalized per gram of biochar applied. Biochar produced from vegetable waste at 500 °C showed the highest Pb immobilization (87%) and highest total exchangeable cations (13.5 cmol(+) kg−1) at the end of the 45 d incubation period. However, on the basis of Pb immobilization per gram of biochar, red pepper stalk biochar produced in CO2 at 650 °C was the best in Pb immobilization (0.09 mg kg−1 g−1 biochar) compared to the other biochars. The enhanced ability to immobilize Pb by biochar produced in CO2 could be due to the presence of siloxanes (–]Si–]O–]Si–]) on biochar surface. Pearson correlation analysis revealed that alkaline pH, ash%, and N% of biochars influence in Pb immobilization and exchangeable cation availability in soil. Biochar production atmosphere considerably change its properties that influence Pb immobilization. Further studies are needed on the modification of properties and Pb immobilization by biochars produced from various feedstocks in CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Black carbon
  • CO pyrolysis
  • Engineered biochar
  • Metals/metalloids
  • Soil stabilization
  • Waste valorization/recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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