Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 931–942 | Cite as

The role of biochar, natural iron oxides, and nanomaterials as soil amendments for immobilizing metals in shooting range soil

  • Anushka Upamali Rajapaksha
  • Mahtab Ahmad
  • Meththika Vithanage
  • Kwon-Rae Kim
  • Jun Young Chang
  • Sang Soo LeeEmail author
  • Yong Sik OkEmail author
Original Paper


High concentration of toxic metals in military shooting range soils poses a significant environmental concern due to the potential release of metals, such as Pb, Cu, and Sb, and hence requires remediation. The current study examined the effectiveness of buffalo weed (Ambrosia trifida L.) biomass and its derived biochars at pyrolytic temperatures of 300 and 700 °C, natural iron oxides (NRE), gibbsite, and silver nanoparticles on metal immobilization together with soil quality after 1-year soil incubation. Destructive (e.g., chemical extractions) and non-destructive (e.g., molecular spectroscopy) methods were used to investigate the immobilization efficacy of each amendment on Pb, Cu, and Sb, and to explore the possible immobilization mechanisms. The highest immobilization efficacy was observed with biochar produced at 300 °C, showing the maximum decreases of bioavailability by 94 and 70 % for Pb and Cu, respectively, which were attributed to the abundance of functional groups in the biochar. Biochar significantly increased the soil pH, cation exchange capacity, and P contents. Indeed, the scanning electron microscopic elemental dot mapping and X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopic (EXAFS) studies revealed associations of Pb with P (i.e., the formation of stable chloropyromorphite [Pb5(PO4)3Cl]) in the biomass- or biochar-amended soils. However, no amendment was effective on Sb immobilization.


Black carbon Charcoal Soil remediation Nanoparticle Slow pyrolysis Synchrotron 



This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program, through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Project No.: 2012R1A1B3001409) (70 %). This study was also partly supported by the “Research Program for Agricultural Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ009219042014)”, National Academy of Agricultural Science, RDA, Korea.

Supplementary material

10653_2015_9694_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1635 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anushka Upamali Rajapaksha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mahtab Ahmad
    • 3
  • Meththika Vithanage
    • 2
  • Kwon-Rae Kim
    • 4
  • Jun Young Chang
    • 5
  • Sang Soo Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yong Sik Ok
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Korea Biochar Research Center and Department of Biological EnvironmentKangwon National UniversityChuncheonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Chemical and Environmental Systems Modeling Research GroupNational Institute of Fundamental StudiesKandySri Lanka
  3. 3.Soil Sciences Department, College of Food and Agricultural SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Agronomy and Medicinal Plant ResourcesGyeongnam National University of Science and TechnologyJinjuRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Environmental Health Research Division, National Institute of Environmental ResearchMinistry of EnvironmentIncheonRepublic of Korea

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