A critical review of the interactions between rhizosphere and biochar during the remediation of metal(loid) contaminated soils

Chuanfang Fan, Yanshan Cui, Qianru Zhang, Naiyi Yin, Xiaolin Cai, Xiangzhou Yuan, Sachini Senadheera, Yoora Cho, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Biochar has a large specific surface area, well-developed pore structure, abundant surface functional groups, and superior nutrient supply capacity, which is widely available and environmentally friendly with its advantages in waste resource utilization, heavy metal(loid) remediation, and carbon storage. This review focuses on the interactions between biochar (including raw biochar, functional biochar (modified/ engineered/ designer biochar), and composite biochar) and rhizosphere during the remediation of soil contaminated with heavy metal(loid)s (Pb, As, Cd, Hg, Co, Cu, Ni, Zn, Cr, etc.) and the effects of these interactions on the microbial communities and root exudates (enzymes and low-molecular-weight organic acids (LMWOAs)). In terms of microorganisms, biochar affects the composition, diversity, and structure of microbial communities through the supply of nutrients, provision of microbial colonization sites, immobilization of heavy metal(loid)s, and introduction of exogenous microorganisms. With regard to root exudates, biochar provides electron transfer support between the microorganisms and exudates, regulates the secretion of enzymes to resist the oxidative stress stimulated by heavy metal(loid)s, ameliorates rhizosphere acidification caused by LMWOAs, and promotes the activity of soil enzymes. The roles and mechanisms of biochar on rhizosphere soils are discussed, as well as the challenges of biochar in the remediation of heavy metal(loid)-contaminated soils, and the issues that need to be addressed in future research are foreseen. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Biochar
  • Green and sustainable remediation
  • Heavy metal(loid)s
  • Root
  • Soil
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution


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