Organic compounds leached from fast pyrolysis mallee leaf and bark biochars.

Research paper by Caroline C Lievens, Daniel D Mourant, Richard R Gunawan, Xun X Hu, Yi Y Wang

Indexed on: 02 Dec '14Published on: 02 Dec '14Published in: Chemosphere


Characterization of organic compounds leached from biochars is essential in assessing the possible toxicity of the biochar to the soils' biota. In this study the nature of the leached organic compounds from Mallee biochars, produced from pyrolysis of Mallee leaf and bark in a fluidised-bed pyrolyser at 400 and 580°C was investigated. Light bio-oil compounds and aromatic organic compounds were investigated. The 'bio-oil like' light compounds from leaf and bark biochars 'surfaces were obtained after leaching the chars with a solvent, suitable to dissolve the respective bio-oils. GC/MS was implemented to investigate the leachates. Phenolics, which are potentially harmful toxins, were detected and their concentration shown to be dependent on the char's origin and the char production temperature. Further, to simulate biochars amendment to soils, the chars were leached with water. The water-leached aromatic compounds from leaf and bark biochars were characterized using UV-fluorescence spectroscopy. Those results suggested that biochars contain leachable compounds of which the nature and amount is dependent on the biomass feedstock, pyrolysis temperature and leaching time.