Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 10, Issue 11, pp 3471–3484 | Cite as

Assessment of Orange Peel Hydrochar as a Soil Amendment: Impact on Clay Soil Physical Properties and Potential Phytotoxicity

  • Dimitrios KalderisEmail author
  • George Papameletiou
  • Berkant Kayan
Original Paper



The main objectives of this work were the following: (1) to investigate the applicability of orange peel hydrochar as a soil amendment for improving the physical properties of a compacted, clay soil and (2) to study the growth of maize on substrates composed of clay soil and hydrochar and determine any potential phytotoxic effects.


The effect on soil’s bulk density (BD), aeration, water holding capacity (WHC), and hydraulic conductivity were examined with hydrochar additions of 5, 10 and 15% (w/w) and determined by conventional laboratory methods. Potential phytotoxic effects were determined through the Zucconi germination index on fresh, diluted and 4-week old undiluted hydrochar extracts. The effect of hydrochar on maize growth was studied in clay soil (as reference), clay soil with 5% (w/w) fresh hydrochar, clay soil with 5% (w/w) of 4-week-old hydrochar and clay soil with 5% (w/w) biochar (for comparison).


At an application rate of 5% (w/w) hydrochar, the bulk density was reduced from 1.35 to 1.22 g/cm3, the air-filled porosity was increased from 33 to 37% and the saturated hydraulic conductivity from 0.96 to 1.01 cm/h. The water holding capacity remained practically unchanged, however it was considerably reduced at higher application rates. The seed germination test indicated strong phytotoxicity of the fresh, undiluted hydrochar extract, which was reduced when the extract was diluted or the hydrochar allowed to mature for 4 weeks. The pot tests indicated that hydrochar did not improve the yield of maize, probably due to the presence of phytotoxic substances.


This study demonstrated a new valorization pathway for a significant agricultural waste. Additionally, it proved the applicability of orange peel hydrochar for improving the physical properties of clay soil. However, due to phytotoxic effects, further work is required before a field application is considered.


Orange peel Hydrothermal carbonization Hydrochar Soil amendment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste and repealing certain Directives, 2008, L 312/3Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Council Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste, 1999, L 182/1Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Citrus Fruit Statistics 2015, Rome 2016. Available at:
  4. 4.
    Satari, B., Karimi, K.: Citrus processing wastes: environmental impacts, recent advances, and future perspectives in total valorization. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 129, 153–167 (2018). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Negro, V., Ruggeri, B., Fino, D., Tonini, D.: Life cycle assessment of orange peel waste management. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 127, 148–158 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hawthorne, S.B., Lagadec, A.J.M., Kalderis, D., Lilke, A.V., Miller, D.J.: Pilot-scale destruction of TNT, RDX, and HMX on contaminated soils using subcritical water. Environ. Sci. Technol. 34, 3224–3228 (2000). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Daskalaki, V.M., Timotheatou, E.S., Katsaounis, A., Kalderis, D.: Degradation of Reactive Red 120 using hydrogen peroxide in subcritical water. Desalination 274, 200–205 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Libra, J.A., Ro, K.S., Kammann, C., Funke, A., Berge, N.D., Neubauer, Y., Titirici, M.-M., Fühner, C., Bens, O., Kern, J., Emmerich, K.-H.: Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass residuals: a comparative review of the chemistry, processes and applications of wet and dry pyrolysis. Biofuels. 2, 71–106 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chen, X., Ma, X., Peng, X., Lin, Y., Yao, Z.: Conversion of sweet potato waste to solid fuel via hydrothermal carbonization. Bioresour. Technol. 249, 900–907 (2018). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Missaoui, A., Bostyn, S., Belandria, V., Cagnon, B., Sarh, B., Gökalp, I.: Hydrothermal carbonization of dried olive pomace: energy potential and process performances. J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis 128, 281–290 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Saba, A., Saha, P., Reza, M.T.: Co-hydrothermal carbonization of coal-biomass blend: influence of temperature on solid fuel properties. Fuel Process. Technol. 167, 711–720 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zaini, I.N., Novianti, S., Nurdiawati, A., Irhamna, A.R., Aziz, M., Yoshikawa, K.: Investigation of the physical characteristics of washed hydrochar pellets made from empty fruit bunch. Fuel Process. Technol. 160, 109–120 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ghanim, B.M., Pandey, D.S., Kwapinski, W., Leahy, J.J.: Hydrothermal carbonisation of poultry litter: effects of treatment temperature and residence time on yields and chemical properties of hydrochars. Bioresour. Technol. 216, 373–380 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yan, W., Perez, S., Sheng, K.: Upgrading fuel quality of moso bamboo via low temperature thermochemical treatments: dry torrefaction and hydrothermal carbonization. Fuel. 196, 473–480 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shen, Y., Yu, S., Ge, S., Chen, X., Ge, X., Chen, M.: Hydrothermal carbonization of medical wastes and lignocellulosic biomass for solid fuel production from lab-scale to pilot-scale. Energy. 118, 312–323 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Guo, S., Dong, X., Wu, T., Zhu, C.: Influence of reaction conditions and feedstock on hydrochar properties. Energy Convers. Manag. 123, 95–103 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fang, J., Zhan, L., Ok, Y.S., Gao, B.: Minireview of potential applications of hydrochar derived from hydrothermal carbonization of biomass. J. Ind. Eng. Chem. 57, 15–21 (2018). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rex, D., Schimmelpfennig, S., Jansen-Willems, A., Moser, G., Kammann, C., Müller, C.: Microbial community shifts 2.6 years after top dressing of Miscanthus biochar, hydrochar and feedstock on a temperate grassland site. Plant Soil. 397, 261–271 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Busch, D., Glaser, B.: Stability of co-composted hydrochar and biochar under field conditions in a temperate soil. Soil Use Manag. 31, 251–258 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bargmann, I., Rillig, M.C., Kruse, A., Greef, J.M., Kücke, M.: Initial and subsequent effects of hydrochar amendment on germination and nitrogen uptake of spring barley. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 177, 68–74 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rillig, M.C., Wagner, M., Salem, M., Antunes, P.M., George, C., Ramke, H.G., Titirici, M.M., Antonietti, M.: Material derived from hydrothermal carbonization: effects on plant growth and arbuscular mycorrhiza. Appl. Soil Ecol. 45, 238–242 (2010). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schimmelpfennig, S., Müller, C., Grünhage, L., Koch, C., Kammann, C.: Biochar, hydrochar and uncarbonized feedstock application to permanent grassland–effects on greenhouse gas emissions and plant growth. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 191, 39–52 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Jandl, G., Eckhardt, K.-U., Bargmann, I., Kücke, M., Greef, J.-M., Knicker, H., Leinweber, P.: Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass residues: mass spectrometric characterization for ecological effects in the soil–plant system. J. Environ. Qual. 42, 199 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Jeffery, S., Verheijen, F.G.A., van der Velde, M., Bastos, A.C.: A quantitative review of the effects of biochar application to soils on crop productivity using meta-analysis. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 144, 175–187 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Lehmann, J., Rillig, M.C., Thies, J., Masiello, C.A., Hockaday, W.C., Crowley, D.: Biochar effects on soil biota—a review. Soil Biol. Biochem. 43, 1812–1836 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Godlewska, P., Schmidt, H.P., Ok, Y.S., Oleszczuk, P.: Biochar for composting improvement and contaminants reduction. A review. Bioresour. Technol. 246, 193–202 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bouyoucos, G.J.: Hydrometer method improved for making particle size analysis of soils. Agron. J. 54, 464–465 (1962)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Panagos, P., Jones, A., Bosco, C., Senthil Kumar, P.S.: European digital archive on soil maps (EuDASM): preserving important soil data for public free access. Int. J. Digit. Earth 4(5), 434–443 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Méndez, A., Paz-Ferreiro, J., Gascó, G.: The effect of paper sludge and biochar addition on brown peat andcoir based growing media properties. Sci. Hortic. 193, 225–230 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Watanabe, F.S., Olsen, S.R.: Test of an ascorbic acid method for determining phosphorus in water and NaHCO3 extracts from the Soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 29, 677–678 (1965)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Walkley, A., Black, I.A.: An examination of Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci. 37, 29–37 (1934)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kalderis, D., Kotti, M.S., Méndez, A., Gascó, G.: Characterization of hydrochars produced by hydrothermal carbonization of rice husk. Solid Earth 5, 477–483 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Stella Mary, G., Sugumaran, P., Niveditha, S., Ramalakshmi, B., Ravichandran, P., Seshadri, S.: Production, characterization and evaluation of biochar from pod (Pisum sativum), leaf (Brassica oleracea) and peel (Citrus sinensis) wastes. Int. J. Recycl. Org. Waste Agric. 5, 43–53 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Nieto, A., Gascó, G., Paz-Ferreiro, J., Fernández, J.M., Plaza, C., Méndez, A.: The effect of pruning waste and biochar addition on brown peat based growing media properties. Sci. Hortic. 199, 142–148 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    ASTM D5856-15: Standard Test Method for Measurement of Hydraulic Conductivity of Porous Material Using a Rigid-Wall. Compaction-Mold Permeameter, ASTM International, West Conshohocken (2015)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Reza, M.T., Andert, J., Wirth, B., Busch, D., Pielert, J., Lynam, J.G., Mumme, J.: Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass for energy and crop production. Appl. Bioenergy 1, 11–29 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Gallifuoco, A., Taglieri, L., Scimia, F., Papa, A.A., Di Giacomo, G.: Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass: new experimental procedures for improving the industrial processes. Bioresour. Technol. 244, 160–165 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    ASTM D3174-12: Standard Test Method for Ash in the Analysis Sample of Coal and Coke from Coal. ASTM International, West Conshohocken (2012)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Jayasinghe, G.Y.: Synthetic soil aggregates as a potting medium for ornamental plant production. J. Plant Nutr. 35, 1441–1456 (2012). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ogura, T., Date, Y., Masukujane, M., Coetzee, T., Akashi, K., Kikuchi, J.: Improvement of physical, chemical, and biological properties of aridisol from Botswana by the incorporation of torrefied biomass. Sci. Rep. 6, 1–10 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kalsch, W., Junker, T., Römbke, J.: A chronic plant test for the assessment of contaminated soils. Part 1: method development. J. Soils Sediments 6(1), 37–45 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Ellis, B., Foth, H.: Soil Fertility, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton (1996)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Verma, J.K., Sharma, A., Paramanick K.K.: To evaluate the values of electrical conductivity and growth parameters of apple saplings in nursery fields. Int. J. Appl. Sci. Eng. Res. 4, 321–332 (2015)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Saarenketo, T.: Electrical properties of water in clay and silty soils. J. Appl. Geophys. 40, 73–88 (1998). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Bai, Z., Li, H., Yang, X., Zhou, B., Shi, X., Wang, B., Li, D., Shen, J., Chen, Q., Qin, W., Oenema, O., Zhang, F.: The critical soil P levels for crop yield, soil fertility and environmental safety in different soil types. Plant Soil 372, 27–37 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Rusco, E., Bidoglio, R.J.: G.: Organic matter in the soils of Europe: present status and future trends. Eur. Soil Bur. Soil Waste Unit Inst. Environ. Sustain. (2001)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Boekel, P.: The effect of organic matter on the structure of clay soils. Netherlands J. Agric. Sci. 11, 250–263 (1963)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Grant, C.A., Lafond, G.P.: The effects of tillage systems and crop sequences on soil bulk density and penetration resistance on a clay soil in southern Saskatchewan. Can. J. Soil Sci. 73, 223–232 (1993). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Saikia, M., Bhattacharyya, D., Patgiri, D.K.: Physical characteristics of puddle rice soils as influenced by agro-ecological and land situations. 16, 221–227 (2017)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Schoonover, J.E., Crim, J.F.: An introduction to soil concepts and the role of soils in watershed management. J. Contemp. Water Res. Educ. 154, 21–47 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Dexter, A.R.: Soil physical quality Part I. Theory, effects of soil texture, density, and organic mailer, and effects on root growth. Geoderma. 120, 201–214 (2004). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Nyéki, A., Milics, G., Kovács, A.J., Neményi, M.: Effects of soil compaction on cereal yield. Cereal Res. Commun. 45, 1–22 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Reynolds, C.A., Jackson, T.J., Rawls, W.J.: Estimating soil water-holding capacities by linking the Food and Agriculture Organization soil map of the world with global pedon databases and continuous pedotransfer functions. Water Resour. Res. 36, 3653–3662 (2000). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Mumme, J., Eckervogt, L., Pielert, J., Diakité, M., Rupp, F., Kern, J.: Hydrothermal carbonization of anaerobically digested maize silage. Bioresour. Technol. 102, 9255–9260 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Sevilla, M., Maciá-Agulló, J.A., Fuertes, A.B.: Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass as a route for the sequestration of CO2: chemical and structural properties of the carbonized products. Biomass Bioenergy 35, 3152–3159 (2011). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Kambo, H.S., Dutta, A.: A comparative review of biochar and hydrochar in terms of production, physico-chemical properties and applications. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 45, 359–378 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Fernandez, M.E., Ledesma, B., Romàn, S., Bonelli, P.R., Cukierman, A.L.: Development and characterization of activated hydrochars from orange peels as potential adsorbents for emerging organic contaminants. Bioresour. Technol. 183, 221–228 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Fang, J., Gao, B., Chen, J., Zimmerman, A.R.: Hydrochars derived from plant biomass under various conditions: Characterization and potential applications and impacts. Chem. Eng. J. 267, 253–259 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Eibisch, N., Helfrich, M., Don, A., Mikutta, R., Kruse, A., Ellerbrock, R., Flessa, H.: Properties and degradability of hydrothermal carbonization products. J. Environ. Qual. 42, 1565 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Liu, Z., Zhang, F.S., Wu, J.: Characterization and application of chars produced from pinewood pyrolysis and hydrothermal treatment. Fuel. 89, 510–514 (2010). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Schimmelpfennig, S., Glaser, B.: One step forward toward characterization: some important material properties to distinguish biochars. J. Environ. Qual. 41, 1001–1013 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Ahmed, A., Gariepy, Y., Raghavan, V.: Influence of wood-derived biochar on the compactibility and strength of silt loam soil. Int. Agrophysics. 31, 149–155 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Lim, T.J., Spokas, K.A., Feyereisen, G., Novak, J.M.: Predicting the impact of biochar additions on soil hydraulic properties. Chemosphere. 142, 136–144 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Das, O., Sarmah, A.K., Bhattacharyya, D.: Structure-mechanics property relationship of waste derived biochars. Sci. Total Environ. 538, 611–620 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Celik, I., Gunal, H., Budak, M., Akpinar, C.: Effects of long-term organic and mineral fertilizers on bulk density and penetration resistance in semi-arid Mediterranean soil conditions. Geoderma. 160, 236–243 (2010). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Głąb, T., Palmowska, J., Zaleski, T., Gondek, K.: Effect of biochar application on soil hydrological properties and physical quality of sandy soil. Geoderma. 281, 11–20 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Vaughn, S.F., Kenar, J.A., Eller, F.J., Moser, B.R., Jackson, M.A., Peterson, S.C.: Physical and chemical characterization of biochars produced from coppiced wood of thirteen tree species for use in horticultural substrates. Ind. Crops Prod. 66, 44–51 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Tian, Y., Sun, X., Li, S., Wang, H., Wang, L., Cao, J., Zhang, L.: Biochar made from green waste as peat substitute in growth media for Calathea rotundifola cv. Fasciata. Sci. Hortic. 143, 15–18 (2012). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Abel, S., Peters, A., Trinks, S., Schonsky, H., Facklam, M., Wessolek, G.: Impact of biochar and hydrochar addition on water retention and water repellency of sandy soil. Geoderma. 202–203, 183–191 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Röhrdanz, M., Rebling, T., Ohlert, J., Jasper, J., Greve, T., Buchwald, R., von Frieling, P., Wark, M.: Hydrothermal carbonization of biomass from landscape management—influence of process parameters on soil properties of hydrochars. J. Environ. Manage. 173, 72–78 (2016). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Mukherjee, A., Lal, R.: Biochar impacts on soil physical properties and greenhouse gas emissions. Agronomy 3(2), 313–339 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Hardie, M., Clothier, B., Bound, S., Oliver, G., Close, D.: Does biochar influence soil physical properties and soil water availability? Plant Soil 376(1–2), 347–361 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Jeffery, S., Meinders, M.B.J., Stoof, C.R., Bezemer, T.M., van de Voorde, T.F.J., Mommer, L., van Groenigen, J.W.: Biochar application does not improve the soil hydrological function of a sandy soil. Geoderma 251–252, 47–54 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Castellini, M., Giglio, L., Niedda, M., Palumbo, A.D., Ventrella, D.: Impact of biochar addition on the physical and hydraulic properties of a clay soil. Soil Tillage Res. 154, 1–13 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Barnes, R.T., Gallagher, M.E., Masiello, C.A., Liu, Z., Dugan, B.: Biochar-induced changes in soil hydraulic conductivity and dissolved nutrient fluxes constrained by laboratory experiments. PLoS ONE 9(9), e108340 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    George, C., Wagner, M., Kücke, M., Rillig, M.C.: Divergent consequences of hydrochar in the plant-soil system: Arbuscular mycorrhiza, nodulation, plant growth and soil aggregation effects. Appl. Soil Ecol. 59, 68–72 (2012). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Baronti, S., Alberti, G., Camin, F., Criscuoli, I., Genesio, L., Mass, R., Vaccari, F.P., Ziller, L., Miglietta, F.: Hydrochar enhances growth of poplar for bioenergy while marginally contributing to direct soil carbon sequestration. GCB Bioenergy. 9, 1618–1626 (2017). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Bargmann, I., Rillig, M.C., Kruse, A., Greef, J.M., Kücke, M.: Effects of hydrochar application on the dynamics of soluble nitrogen in soils and on plant availability. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 177, 48–58 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Busch, D., Stark, A., Kammann, C.I., Glaser, B.: Genotoxic and phytotoxic risk assessment of fresh and treated hydrochar from hydrothermal carbonization compared to biochar from pyrolysis. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. 97, 59–66 (2013). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Malghani, S., Jüschke, E., Baumert, J., Thuille, A., Antonietti, M., Trumbore, S., Gleixner, G.: Carbon sequestration potential of hydrothermal carbonization char (hydrochar) in two contrasting soils; results of a 1-year field study. Biol. Fertil. Soils. 51, 123–134 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Reibe, K., Roß, C.L., Ellmer, F.: Hydro-/Biochar application to sandy soils: impact on yield components and nutrients of spring wheat in pots. Arch. Agron. Soil Sci. 61, 1055–1060 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Wagner, A., Kaupenjohann, M.: Suitability of biochars (pyro- and hydrochars) for metal immobilization on former sewage-field soils. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 65, 139–148 (2014). CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, School of Applied SciencesTechnological and Educational Institute of CreteChaniaGreece
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and LettersAksaray UniversityAksarayTurkey

Personalised recommendations