Plant and Soil

, Volume 395, Issue 1–2, pp 57–73 | Cite as

Plant growth and metal uptake by a non-hyperaccumulating species (Lolium perenne) and a Cd-Zn hyperaccumulator (Noccaea caerulescens) in contaminated soils amended with biochar

  • Frédéric Rees
  • Cyril Germain
  • Thibault Sterckeman
  • Jean-Louis MorelEmail author
Regular Article



Biochar could be used as a soil amendment in metal contaminated soils, for safe crop production or soil remediation purposes. This work was conducted to study the effects of biochar amendments on metal uptake by two contrasted plants grown on metal-contaminated soils.


A non-hyperaccumulating plant (Lolium perenne) and a Cd- and Zn-hyperaccumulator (Noccea caerulescens) were grown in pots on acidic (A) and alkaline (B) soil contaminated by Cd, Pb and Zn, both amended by a wood-derived biochar.


Biochar amendments decreased the availability of metals by increasing soil pH, but also decreased Ca, P and N availability. Growth of L. perenne was increased and shoot metal uptake decreased by biochar addition in both soils, although increasing biochar dose above 0.5 % resulted in a progressive decrease of shoot production on soil B. Growth of N. caerulescens was not significantly affected by biochar. But an increase of Cd uptake with 5 % biochar was recorded on both soils, and of Zn uptake on soil B.


Beside immobilizing metals, biochar may decrease the availability of nutrients, leading either to plant deficiency or to a decreased competition with cations for metal uptake, thus enhancing extraction of metals by hyperaccumulators.


Biochar Metal Nutrient deficiency Biomass production Hyperaccumulation Phytoremediation 



Water holding capacity



This work has been carried out within the GISFI ( in the framework of the LORVER project ( funded by the French Lorraine Region and ERDF. The authors wish to thank the technical staff of LSE and GISFI, particularly Noële Raoult, Rémi Baldo, Stéphane Colin, Lucas Charrois, Romain Goudon and Alain Rakoto, and Claude Gallois from LAE. They are grateful to Apolline Auclerc, Sophie Joimel and Marie Rue, and wish to thank Hans Peter Schmidt for the provision of biochar. The authors also thank the two reviewers for their helpful comments.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2384_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2284 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Rees
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cyril Germain
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thibault Sterckeman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-Louis Morel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, UMR 1120Université de LorraineVandœuvre-lès-Nancy cedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, UMR 1120INRAVandœuvre-lès-Nancy cedexFrance

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