Indexed on: 08 May '13Published on: 08 May '13Published in: Environmental Science and Pollution Research
The purpose of this study is to compare the relative contribution of different mechanisms to the enhanced adsorption of Cu(II), Pb(II) and Cd(II) by variable charge soils due to incorporation of biochars derived from crop straws. The biochars were prepared from the straws of canola and peanut using an oxygen-limited pyrolysis method at 350 °C. The effect of biochars on adsorption and desorption of Cu(II), Pb(II) and Cd(II) by and from three variable charge soils from southern China was investigated with batch experiments. Based on the desorption of pre-adsorbed heavy metals, the electrostatic and non-electrostatic adsorptions were separated. EDTA was used to replace the heavy metals complexed with biochars and to evaluate the complexing ability of the biochars with the metals. The incorporation of biochars increased the adsorption of Cu(II), Pb(II) and Cd(II) by the soil; peanut straw char induced a greater increase in the adsorption of the three metals. The increased percentage of Cd(II) adsorption induced by biochars was much greater than that for the adsorption of Cu(II) and Pb(II). Cu(II) adsorption on three variable charge soils was enhanced by the two biochars mainly through a non-electrostatic mechanism, while both electrostatic and non-electrostatic mechanisms contributed to the enhanced adsorption of Pb(II) and Cd(II) due to the biochars. Peanut straw char had a greater specific adsorption capacity than canola straw char and thus induced more non-electrostatic adsorption of Cu(II), Pb(II) and Cd(II) by the soils than did the canola straw char. The complexing ability of the biochars with Cu(II) and Pb(II) was much stronger than that with Cd(II) and thus induced more specific adsorption of Cu(II) and Pb(II) by the soils than that of Cd(II). Biochars increased heavy metal adsorption by the variable charge soils through electrostatic and non-electrostatic mechanisms, and the relative contribution of the two mechanisms varied with metals and biochars.