Effects of carbon nanotube and biochar on bioavailability of Pb, Cu and Sb in multi-metal contaminated soil

Meththika Vithanage, Indika Herath, Yaser A. Almaroai, Anushka Upamali Rajapaksha, Longbin Huang, Jwa Kyung Sung, Sang Soo Lee, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the effects of carbon nanotube and biochar on the bioavailability of Pb, Cu and Sb in the shooting range soils for developing low-cost remediation technology. Commercially available multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) and biochar pyrolyzed from soybean stover at 300 °C (BC) at 0.5, 1 and 2.5% (w w−1) were used to remediate the contaminated soil in an incubation experiment. Both DTPA (bioavailable) and TCLP (leaching) extraction procedures were used to compare the metal/loid availability and leaching by the amendments in soil. The addition of BC was more effective in immobilizing mobile Pb and Cu in the soil than that in MWCNT. The BC reduced the concentrations of Pb and Cu in the soil by 17.6 and 16.2%, respectively. However, both MWCNTs and BC increased Sb bioavailability by 1.4-fold and 1.6-fold, respectively, in DTPA extraction, compared to the control. The toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) test showed that the leachability of Pb in the soil amended with 2.5% MWCNT was 1.3-fold higher than that the unamended soil, whereas the BC at 2.5% decreased the TCLP-extractable Pb by 19.2%. Precipitation and adsorption via electrostatic and electron donor–acceptor interactions were postulated to be involved in the interactions of Pb and Cu with surfaces of the BC in the amended soils, whereas ion exchange mechanisms might be involved in the immobilization of Cu in the MWCNT-amended soils. The application of BC derived from soybean stover can be a low-cost technology for simultaneously immobilizing bioavailable Pb and Cu in the shooting range soils; however, neither of amendments was effective in Sb immobilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1420
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental geochemistry and health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Bioavailability
  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Multi-walled carbon nanotube
  • Soil remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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