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J Environ Manage. 2018 Apr 1;211:256-268. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.12.052. Epub 2018 Feb 4.

Biochar feedstock and pyrolysis temperature effects on leachate: DOC characteristics and nitrate losses from a Brazilian Cerrado Arenosol mixed with agricultural waste biochars.

Author information

1
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Electronic address: alisperat@gmail.com.
2
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada; Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address: mark.johnson@ubc.ca.
3
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Agricultura Tropical, Faculdade de Agronomia e Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, 78060-900, Brazil. Electronic address: heirianemartins@hotmail.com.
4
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Ambiental, Universidade de Cuiabá (UNIC), Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, 78065-900, Brazil. Electronic address: higojdalmagro@gmail.com.
5
Departamento de Solos e Engenharia Rural, Faculdade de Agronomia e Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, 78060-900, Brazil. Electronic address: couto@ufmt.br.

Abstract

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) leached from Brazilian Cerrado Arenosols can lead to carbon (C) losses and lower soil fertility, while excessive nutrient, e.g. nitrate (NO3-), leaching can potentially cause water contamination. As biochar has been shown to stabilize C and retain soil nutrients, a greenhouse experiment was conducted to test different biochars' contributions to DOC and NO3- leaching from a sandy soil. Biochars were made from four local agricultural waste feedstocks (cotton residue, swine manure, eucalyptus sawmill residue, sugarcane filtercake) pyrolysed at 400, 500 and 600 °C. Biochar was mixed with soil at 5% weight in pots and maize seeds planted. Leachate was collected weekly for six weeks and analyzed for DOC and NO3- concentrations, while fluorescence spectroscopy with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) was used to interpret DOC characteristics. Cotton and swine manure biochar treatments had higher DOC and NO3- losses than eucalyptus biochar, filtercake biochar, and control treatments. Cotton and swine manure biochar treatments at high temperatures lost mostly terrestrial, humified DOC, while swine manure, filtercake, and eucalyptus biochars at low temperatures lost mostly labile, microbially-derived DOC. Through the practical use of fluorescence spectroscopy, our study identified filtercake and eucalyptus biochars as most promising for retaining DOC and NO3- in a Cerrado Arenosol, potentially reducing stable C and nutrient losses.

KEYWORDS:

Agricultural waste; Biochar; Dissolved organic carbon; Fluorescence spectroscopy; Nitrate; PARAFAC

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