Effect of Biochar on the Fate and Behavior of Allelochemicals in Soil

Presented by Kathleen Hall on August 8, 2014

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Kathleen Hall's Abstract

Before using biochar as a soil amendment, it is important to understand its effect on soil bioavailability of allelochemicals, specifically phenolic acids. This study examines sorption of 14C-labeled ferulic acid, syringic acid, and chlorocatechol to four biochars prepared from individual feedstocks and four "customized" biochars produced from mixed feedstocks using batch equilibration. Pure feedstock biochar sorption order was: switchgrass< swine solids < poultry litter < pine chip for both ferulic (Kd = 1.4-75 L kg-1) and syringic acid (Kd = 0.07-6.03 L kg-1). Both biochar properties and chemical structure appeared to influence sorption. Sorptive properties of biochars produced from combined feedstocks could not be predicted from their pure feedstock components; sorption coefficients were both higher and lower than individual parent materials’ biochars. All biochar Kd values, except pine chip, were consistently lower than the reference silt loam soil, therefore incorporating these biochars would not likely alter bioavailability of phenolic acids in this soil.