Influence of biochar addition and plant management (cutting and time) on ryegrass growth and migration of As and Pb during phytostabilization

Jing Qiu, Marcella Fernandes De Souza, Xiaolin Wang, Yong Sik Ok, Erik Meers

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Phytostabilization of metal-contaminated soils can be enabled or improved by biochar application. However, biochar-aided effects vary on biochar types, and little attention has been paid to plant management (time and cutting) to enhance phytostabilization efficiency in synergy with biochar. Therefore, biochars derived from pig manure (PM), Japanese knotweed (JK), and a mixture of both (P1J1) were applied to Pb and As mining soil with ryegrass cultivation to assess the biochar-induced effects on plant growth, dissolved organic matter (DOM), As and Pb mobility, and bioaccumulation within a phytostabilization strategy. Additional treatments involving the combined biochar (P1J1) and ryegrass were conducted to explore the influence of sequential cutting and growing time on facilitating phytostabilization efficacy. Biochar applications promoted plant growth, progressively increasing over time, but were not enhanced by cutting. Short and long-wavelength humic-like DOM substances identified in the soil pore water after biochar application varied depending on the biochar types used, providing evidence for the correlation among DOM changes, biochar origin, and metal immobilization. Biochar-treated soils exhibited reduced Pb availability and enhanced As mobility, with P1J1 stabilizing Pb significantly similar to PM while causing less As mobilization as JK did. The mobilized As did not result in increased plant As uptake; instead, all biochar-added plants showed a significant decrease in As and Pb concentrations compared to those without biochar. Soil available As decreased while available Pb increased with time, and cutting did not influence soil As behavior but did reduce soil Pb release. Nevertheless, plant As and Pb concentrations decreased over time, whereas those in multiple-cut plants were generally higher than those without cuts. Biochar, especially P1J1, along with growth time, holds promise in promoting plant biomass, reducing plant Pb and As concentrations, and minimizing the migration of Pb–As within the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169771
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb 25

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier B.V.


  • Arsenic
  • Bioavailability
  • Biochar
  • Lead
  • Phytostabilization
  • Ryegrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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