Heavy metal immobilization and microbial community abundance by vegetable waste and pine cone biochar of agricultural soils

Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Sung Eun Lee, Young Han Lee, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jörg Rinklebe, Eilhann E. Kwon, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

252 Citations (Scopus)


In order to determine the efficacy of vegetable waste and pine cone biochar for immobilization of metal/metalloid (lead and arsenic) and abundance of microbial community in different agricultural soils, we applied the biochar produced at two different temperatures to two contaminated soils. Biochar was produced by vegetable waste, pine cone, and their mixture (1:1 ww−1) at 200 °C (torrefied biomass) and 500 °C (biochar). Contaminated soils were incubated with 5% (ww−1) torrefied biomass or biochar. Sequential extraction, thermodynamic modeling, and scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used to evaluate the metal immobilization. Microbial communities were characterized by microbial fatty acid profiles and microbial activity was assessed by dehydrogenase activity. Vegetable waste and the mixture of vegetable waste and pine cone biochar exhibited greater ability for Pb immobilization than pine cone biochar and three torrefied biomass, and vegetable waste biochar was found to be most effective. However, torrefied biomass was most effective in increasing both microbial community and dehydrogenase activity. This study confirms that vegetable waste could be a vital biomass to produce biochar to immobilize Pb, and increase the microbial communities and enzyme activity in soils. Biomass and pyrolytic temperature were not found to be effective in the immobilization of As in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-603
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF; NRF- 2015R1A2A2A11001432) and 2015 Research Grant from Kangwon National University (No. 520150101). The instrumental analysis was supported by the Central Laboratory of Kangwon National University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Black carbon
  • Enzyme activity
  • Food waste
  • PLFA
  • Soil remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • General Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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