Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4867–4877 | Cite as

Mercury adsorption to aged biochar and its management in China

  • Shiqiu Zhang
  • Xue Yang
  • Meiting JuEmail author
  • Le LiuEmail author
  • Kui Zheng
Research Article


Biochar is frequently applied for the reduction of mercury (Hg) migration in soil; however, most of the studies only focused on the adsorption capacity evaluation of fresh biochar. We investigated the Hg adsorption capacities of biochar prepared from wheat straw, corn straw, and sunflower seed shells. Biochar aging was simulated via natural aging, high-temperature aging, and freeze-thaw aging. The adsorption capacities of all the aged biochar were increased, and wheat straw biochar and seed shells biochar treated with high-temperature aging (wBC-Ha500 and sBC-Ha600) and corn straw biochar treated with freeze-thaw aging (cBC-Fta500) showed an observable improvement on the equilibrium adsorption amounts. The kinetics of the fresh biochar samples fitted the pseudo-first-order kinetic model and the pseudo-second-order kinetic model, while the kinetics of the aged biochar samples fitted the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. Biochar adsorption capacity increased with higher initial concentrations and increasing temperatures. Elemental analysis, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) spectra, cation-exchange capacity (CEC), surface area (SA), zeta potential, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) showed that the aging mechanism consisted of hydroxylation and carboxylation caused by the functional groups on the biochar surface. According to the different climatic zones in China, wheat straw biochar and seed shell biochar are suitable for the tropical zone and the subtropical zone, while corn straw biochar is more suitable for the cold and the mid-temperate zones.


Biochar Hg Aging regime Management 



The authors appreciate the financial support and thank the editor and reviewers for their very useful suggestions and comments.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51708301), Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin, China (17JCZDJC39500), 2017 Science and Technology Demonstration Project of Industrial Integration and Development, Tianjin, China (17ZXYENC00100), and 2017 Jinnan District Science and Technology Project of Tianjin, China (20171505).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3945_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1143 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.Analytical and Testing CenterSouthwest University of Science and TechnologyMianyangChina

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