Bioenergy-derived waste biochar for reducing mobility, bioavailability, and phytotoxicity of chromium in anthropized tannery soil

Indika Herath, M. C.M. Iqbal, Mohammad I. Al-Wabel, Adel Abduljabbar, Mahtab Ahmad, Adel R.A. Usman, Yong Sik Ok, Meththika Vithanage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study was aimed to investigate the potential of biochar (BC), a waste byproduct of a bioenegy industry, Sri Lanka, as a soil amendment to immobilize and reduce the phytotoxicity of Cr in tannery waste-polluted soil (TWS). Materials and methods: The TWS and bioenergy waste BC were characterized for physio-chemical parameters. A pot experiment was conducted by adding three BC application rates, 1, 2.5, and 5 % (w/w) to investigate the immobilizing capacity and bioaccumulation of chromium (Cr) in tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum L.). Soils and plants were digested via microwave digestion and analyzed for total Cr. Further, sequential extraction was conducted to assess the fractionation of Cr before and after the application of bioenergy waste BC on TWS. Results and discussion: The total Cr concentration in TWS was 12,285 mg/kg. The biomass of tomato plants grown in the 5 % BC amendment doubled compared to the biomass in BC-unamended soil. Bioaccumulation of Cr in plants grown in 5 % BC-amended TWS showed a decrease by 97 % compared to that of the BC-unamended soil. The CaCl2 extractability of Cr indicated that the bioavailability of Cr in the 5 % BC amendment has decreased by 68 % compared to the control. Sequentially extracted Cr in the exchangeable fraction decreased by 98 % in the 5 % BC amendment. Conclusions: Pore diffusion, and adsorption via π-π electron donor-acceptor interactions were the primary mechanisms to be involved in the Cr retention in BC. Results suggested that the addition of BC to TWS reduces the mobility, bioavailability, and phytotoxicity of Cr in tomato plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-740
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Bioenergy
  • Immobilization
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Sequential extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Stratigraphy


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