Effects of aging and weathering on immobilization of trace metals/metalloids in soils amended with biochar

Yuchi Zhong, Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Ming Zhang, Xiaodian Li, Jörg Rinklebe, Deyi Hou, Filip M.G. Tack, Daniel S. Alessi, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Biochar is an effective amendment for trace metal/metalloid (TMs) immobilization in soils. The capacity of biochar to immobilize TMs in soil can be positively or negatively altered due to the changes in the surface and structural chemistry of biochar after soil application. Biochar surfaces are oxidized in soils and induce structural changes through physical and biochemical weathering processes. These changes in the biochar surface and structural chemistry generally increase its ability to immobilize TMs, although the generation of dissolved black carbon during weathering may increase TM mobility. Moreover, biochar modification can improve its capacity to immobilize TMs in soils. Over the short-term, engineered/modified biochar exhibited increased TM immobilization capacity compared with unmodified biochar. In the long-term, no large distinctions in such capacities were seen between modified and unmodified biochars due to weathering. In addition, artificial weathering at laboratories also revealed increased TM immobilization in soils. Continued collection of mechanistic evidence will help evaluate the effect of natural and artificial weathering, and biochar modification on the long-term TM immobilization capacity of biochar with respect to feedstock and synthesis conditions in contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1790-1808
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Science: Processes and Impacts
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partly supported by the National Science and Technology Major Projects for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2017ZX07201004), the National Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 21677137), and partly supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (Germany-Korea Partnership Program (GEnKO Program) 2018–2020).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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