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J Agric Food Chem. 2016 Jul 13;64(27):5464-71. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b01035. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Novel Biochar-Plant Tandem Approach for Remediating Hexachlorobenzene Contaminated Soils: Proof-of-Concept and New Insight into the Rhizosphere.

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State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences , 71 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, PR China.


Volatilization of semi/volatile persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from soils is a major source of global POPs emission. This proof-of-concept study investigated a novel biochar-plant tandem approach to effectively immobilize and then degrade POPs in soils using hexachlorobenzene (HCB) as a model POP and ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) as a model plant growing in soils amended with wheat straw biochar. HCB dissipation was significantly enhanced in the rhizosphere and near rhizosphere soils, with the greatest dissipation in the 2 mm near rhizosphere. This enhanced HCB dissipation likely resulted from (i) increased bioavailability of immobilized HCB and (ii) enhanced microbial activities, both of which were induced by ryegrass root exudates. As a major component of ryegrass root exudates, oxalic acid suppressed HCB sorption to biochar and stimulated HCB desorption from biochar and biochar-amended soils, thus increasing the bioavailability of HCB. High-throughput sequencing results revealed that the 2 mm near rhizosphere soil showed the lowest bacterial diversity due to the increased abundance of some genera (e.g., Azohydromonas, Pseudomonas, Fluviicola, and Sporocytophaga). These bacteria were likely responsible for the enhanced degradation of HCB as their abundance was exponentially correlated with HCB dissipation. The results from this study suggest that the biochar-plant tandem approach could be an effective strategy for remediating soils contaminated with semi/volatile organic contaminants.


bioavailability; biochar; microbial community structure; persistent organic pollutants; soil rhizosphere

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