Plant and Soil

, 348:439 | Cite as

Biochar reduces the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of heavy metals

  • Jin Hee Park
  • Girish Kumar Choppala
  • Nanthi Sirangie BolanEmail author
  • Jae Woo Chung
  • Thammared Chuasavathi
Regular Article


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.


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.


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.


The results clearly showed that biochar application was effective in metal immobilization, thereby reducing the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of heavy metals.


Chicken manure-derived biochar Green waste-derived biochar Heavy metal Immobilization Bioavailability 



This study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), Korea through Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology as a Hub University for Industrial Collaboration (HUNIC). The authors thank Byoung Hwan Seo, Si Young Choi and Seul Ji Lee for laboratory assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin Hee Park
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Girish Kumar Choppala
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nanthi Sirangie Bolan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jae Woo Chung
    • 4
  • Thammared Chuasavathi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, Building XUniversity of South AustraliaMawson LakesAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the EnvironmentAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Mined Land RehabilitationUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Environmental EngineeringGyeongnam National University of Science and TechnologyJinjuRepublic of Korea

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