Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

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.

PMID 22023336


Biochar, the solid residual remaining after the thermochemical transformation of biomass for carbon sequestration, has been proposed to be used as a soil amendment, because of its agronomic benefits. The effect of amending soil with six biochars made from different feedstocks on the sorption and leaching of fluometuron and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) was compared to the effect of other sorbents: an activated carbon, a Ca-rich Arizona montmorillonite modified with hexadecyltrimethylammonium organic cation (SA-HDTMA), and an agricultural organic residue from olive oil production (OOW). Soil was amended at 2% (w/w), and studies were performed following a batch equilibration procedure. Sorption of both herbicides increased in all amended soils, but decreased in soil amended with a biochar produced from macadamia nut shells made with fast pyrolysis. Lower leaching of the herbicides was observed in the soils amended with the biochars with higher surface areas BC5 and BC6 and the organoclay (OCl). Despite the increase in herbicide sorption in soils amended with two hardwood biochars (BC1 and BC3) and OOW, leaching of fluometuron and MCPA was enhanced with the addition of these amendments as compared to the unamended soil. The increased leaching is due to some amendments' soluble organic compounds, which compete or associate with herbicide molecules, enhancing their soil mobility. Thus, the results indicate that not all biochar amendments will increase sorption and decrease leaching of fluometuron and MCPA. Furthermore, the amount and composition of the organic carbon (OC) content of the amendment, especially the soluble part (DOC), can play an important role in the sorption and leaching of these herbicides.