Skip to main content
Biochar reduces the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of heavy metals
Plant and Soil
  • Jin Hee Park, University of South Australia
  • Girish K Choppala, University of South Australia
  • Nanthi S Bolan, University of South Australia
  • Jae Woo Chung, Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology
  • Thammared Chuasavathi, University of South Australia
Document Type
Publication Date
Peer Reviewed
Background and aims Biochar has attracted research interest due to its ability to increase the soil carbon pool and improve crop productivity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the metal immobilizing impact of chicken manure- and green waste-derived biochars, and their effectiveness in promoting plant growth. Methods The immobilization and phytoavailability of Cd, Cu and Pb was examined using naturally contaminated shooting range and spiked soils. Biochar samples prepared from chicken manure and green waste were used as soil amendments. Results Application of biochar significantly reduced NH4NO3 extractable Cd, Cu and Pb concentrations of soils, indicating the immobilization of these metals. Chicken manure-derived biochar increased plant dry biomass by 353 and 572% for shoot and root, respectively with 1% of biochar addition. This might be attributed to reduced toxicity of metals and increased availability of nutrients such as P and K. Both biochars significantly reduced Cd, Cu and Pb accumulation by Indian mustard (Brassica juncea), and the reduction increased with increasing amount of biochar application except Cu concentration. Metal sequential fractionation data indicated that biochar treatments substantially modified the partitioning of Cd, Cu and Pb from the easily exchangeable phase to less bioavailable organic bound fraction. Conclusions The results clearly showed that biochar application was effective in metal immobilization, thereby reducing the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of heavy metals.
Citation Information

Park, JH, Choppala, GK, Bolan, NS, Chung, JW & Chuasavathi, T 2011, 'Biochar reduces the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of heavy metals', Plant and Soil, vol. 348, no. 1-2, pp. 439-451

Published version available from: