The Effects of Biochar Properties on Fomesafen Adsorption-Desorption Capacity of Biochar-Amended Soil

  • Mahdi Safaei Khorram
  • Ajit K. Sarmah
  • Yunlong Yu


Carbon-rich biomass products from thermal pyrolysis have been considered as an appropriate alternative for the remediation of contaminated lands. However, the impacts of the physico-chemical properties of biochar on adsorption, desorption, and leaching processes are not fully understood. In this study, adsorption, desorption, and leaching of fomesafen in a soil amended with six biochars were investigated. The highest fomesafen adsorption coefficient (kfads = 20.67) was observed when 2% of hardwood biochar (B4) was added onto the soil due to its highest specific surface area (SSA) (331.70 m2/g) and lowest dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content (0.43%) relative to the other tested biochars. By contrast, the lowest adsorption coefficient (kfads = 16.64) was observed in the soil amended with 2% rice straw biochar (B1) with the lowest SSA (63.10 m2/g) and highest DOC content (3.67%). Nevertheless, during desorption process, the lowest coefficients were observed in the soil amended with softwood (B2) and walnut (B5) biochars, which possessed higher SSA and lower pH than B1, most likely due to their lower micro-pore volume/total pore volume ratios (MPV/TPV). Moreover, fomesafen adsorption in the soils amended with B2 and B5 was highly reversible. The outcomes of the leaching experiment also showed that fomesafen leaching from the soil column followed the same trend as desorption. These results suggested that although the adsorption capacity of biochar is most likely controlled by SSA and DOC, desorption and leaching processes are mainly affected by MPV/TPV.


Adsorption Biochars Desorption Leaching Microporosity Reversibility 



This work was supported by the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation (LZ13D010001), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271489 and 21477112), and the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (20120101110073).


  1. Ahmadi, A. R., Shahbazi, S., & Diyanat, M. (2016). Efficacy of five herbicides for weed control in rain-fed lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) Weed Technology, 30, 448–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arivalagan, P., Singaraj, D., Haridass, V., & Kaliannan, T. (2014). Removal of cadmium from aqueous solution by batch studies using Bacillus cereus. Ecological Engineering, 71, 728–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Awad, Y. M., Blagodatskaya, E., Ok, Y. S., & Kuzyakov, Y. (2012). Effects of polyacrylamide, biopolymer and biochar on decomposition of soil organic matter and plants residues as determined by 14C and enzyme activities. European Journal of Soil Biology, 48, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brewer, C. E., Unger, R., Schmidt-Rohr, K., & Brown, R. C. (2011). Criteria to select biochars for field studies based on biochar chemical properties. Bioenergy Research, 4(4), 312–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cabrera, A., Cox, L., Hermosin, M. C., Cornejo, J., & Koskinen, W. (2014). Influence of biochar amendments on the sorption-desorption of aminocyclopyrachlor, bentazone and pyraclostrobin pesticides to an agricultural soil. Science of the Total Environment, 470-471, 438–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cabrera, A., Cox, L., Spokas, K. A., Celis, R., Hermosín, M. C., Cornejo, J., & Koskinen, W. C. (2011). Comparative sorption and leaching study of the herbicides fluometuron and 4-Chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) in a soil amended with biochars and other sorbents. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59(23), 12550–12560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cox, L., Fernandes, M. C., Zsolnay, A., Hermosin, M. C., & Cornejo, J. (2004). Changes in dissolved organic carbon of soil amendments with aging: effect of pesticide adsorption behavior. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52(18), 5635–5642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dechene, A., Rosendahl, I., Laabs, V., & Amelung, W. (2014). Sorption of polar herbicides and herbicide metabolites by biochar-amended soil. Chemosphere, 109, 180–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Delwiche, K. B., Lehmann, J., & Walter, M. T. (2014). Atrazine leaching from biochar-amended soils. Chemosphere, 95, 346–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eibisch, N., Schroll, R., FuB, R., Mikutta, R., Helfrich, W., & Flessa, H. (2015). Pyrochars and hydrochars differently alter the sorption of the herbicide isoproturon in an agricultural soil. Chemosphere, 119, 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Guo, J. F., Zhu, J. N., Shi, J. J., & Sun, J. H. (2003). Adsorption, desorption and mobility of fomesafen in Chinese soils. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 148, 77–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jin, X. X., Cui, N., Zhou, W., Safaei Khorram, M., Wang, D. H., & Yu, Y. L. (2014). Soil genotixicity induced by successive applications of chlorothalonil under greenhouse conditions. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 33, 1043–1047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Khorram, M. S., Lin, D., Zhang, Q., Zheng, Y., Fang, H., & Yu, Y. (2017). Effects of aging process on adsorption–desorption and bioavailability of fomesafen in an agricultural soil amended with rice hull biochar. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 56, 180–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Khorram, M. S., Wang, Y., Jin, X., Fang, H., & Yu, Y. (2015). Reduced mobility of fomesafen through enhanced adsorption in biochar amended soil. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 34(6), 1258–1266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Khorram, M. S., Zhang, Q., Lin, D., Zheng, Y., Fang, H., & Yu, Y. L. (2016). Biochar: a review of its impact on pesticide behavior in soil environments and its potential applications. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 44, 269–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Khorram, M. S., Zheng, Y., Lin, D., Zhang, Q., Fang, H., & Yu, Y. (2016). Dissipation of fomesafen in biochar-amended soil and its availability to corn (Zea mays L.) and earthworm (Eisenia fetida). Journal of Soils and Sediments, 16, 2439–2448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kuppusamy, S., Thavamani, P., Megharaj, M., Venkateswarlu, K., & Naidu, R. (2016). Agronomic and remedial benefits and risks of applying biochar to soil: current knowledge and future research directions. Environment International, 87, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li, J., Li, Y., Wu, M., Zhang, Z., & Lu, J. (2013). Effectiveness of low-temperature biochar in controlling the release and leaching of herbicides in soil. Plant and Soil, 370(1), 333–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Liu, G. S. (1996). Physical and chemical analysis of soils and profile description. Beijing: China Standard Publishing House.Google Scholar
  20. Liu, N., Zhu, M., Wang, H., & Ma, H. (2016). Adsorption characteristics of direct red 23 from aqueous solution by biochar. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 223, 335–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mamchenko, A. V., Yakimova, T. I., & Koganovskii, A. M. (1982). The mechanism of the filling of the micropores in activated charcoals during the adsorption of organic substances dissolved in water. Russian Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 56, 741–743.Google Scholar
  22. Martin, S. M., Kookana, R. S., Van Zwieten, L., & Krull, E. (2012). Marked changes in herbicide sorption-desorption upon aging of biochars in soil. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 231–232, 70–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. OECD. (2000). OECD guideline for the testing of chemicals 106, adsorption-desorption using a batch equilibrium method. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. OECD. (2004). OECD guidelines for the testing of chemicals 312, leaching in soil columns. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pignatello, J. J., Kwon, S., & Lu, Y. F. (2006). Effect of natural organic substances on the surface and adsorptive properties of environmental black carbon (char): attenuation of surface activity by humic and fulvic acids. Environmental Science and Technology, 40(24), 7757–7763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sander, M., & Pignatello, J. J. (2007). On the reversibility of sorption to black carbon: distinguishing true hysteresis from artificial hysteresis caused by dilution of a competing adsorbate. Environmental Science and Technology, 41(3), 843–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Si, Y. B., Wang, M., Tian, C., Zhou, J., & Zhou, D. (2011). Effect of charcoal amendment on adsorption, leaching and degradation of isoproturon in soils. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 123(1–2), 75–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sohi, S. P. (2012). Carbon storage with benefits. Science, 338(6110), 1034–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Srinivasan, P., & Sarmah, A. K. (2015). Characterization of agricultural waste-derived biochars and their sorption potential for sulfamethoxazole in pasture soil: a spectroscopic investigation. Science of the Total Environment, 502, 471–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sun, F., & Lu, S. (2014). Biochars improve aggregate stability, water retention, and pore space properties of clayey soil. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 177(1), 26–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tatarkova, V., Hiller, E., & Vaculik, M. (2013). Impact of wheat straw biochar addition to soil on the sorption, leaching, dissipation of the herbicide (4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy) acetic acid and the growth of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 92, 215–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tian, C., Wang, M. D., & Si, Y. B. (2010). Influences of charcoal amendment on adsorption-desorption of isoproturon in soils. Agricultural Sciences in China, 9(2), 257–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Venegas, A., Rigol, A., & Vidal, M. (2015). Viability of organic wastes and biochars as amendments for the remediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils. Chemosphere, 119, 190–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Weber, J. B. (1993). Ionization and sorption of fomesafen and atrazine by soils and soil constituents. Pesticide Science, 39, 31–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wu, X., Xu, J., Dong, F., Liu, X., & Zheng, Y. (2014). Responses of microbial community to different concentration of fomesafen. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 273, 155–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yu, X. Y., Ying, G. G., & Kookana, R. S. (2006). Sorption and desorption behaviors of diuron in soils amended with charcoal. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 54(22), 8545–8550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yu, X. Y., Pan, L. G., Ying, G. G., & Kookana, R. S. (2010). Enhanced and irreversible sorption of pesticide pyrimethanil by soil amended with biochars. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 22(4), 615–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zimmerman, A. R., Gao, B., & Ahn, M. (2011). Positive and negative carbon mineralization priming effects among a variety of biochar-amended soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 43(6), 1169–1179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahdi Safaei Khorram
    • 1
  • Ajit K. Sarmah
    • 2
  • Yunlong Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Pesticide and Environmental Toxicology, College of Agriculture and BiotechnologyZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations