Investigation of cadmium immobilization in a contaminated calcareous soil as influenced by biochars and natural zeolite application

  • H. R. BoostaniEmail author
  • A. G. Hardie
  • M. Najafi-Ghiri
  • D. Khalili
Original Paper


The effect of natural zeolite and biochars addition on the immobilization of cadmium in a calcareous soil was investigated using a combined factorial experiment under laboratory conditions. The following factors were evaluated: zeolite applied at 0, 3 and 6% (w/w) in combination with five different biochars at 3% (w/w), namely wheat straw biochar, corn straw biochar, licorice root pulp biochar, rice husk biochar and sheep manure biochar. Two different methods including a sequential extraction procedure and desorption kinetic experiment (using 0.01M EDTA) were used to assess the effectiveness of applied treatments for cadmium stabilization in soil. It was observed that with increasing the levels of zeolite application from 0 to 6%, the concentration of water-soluble plus exchangeable, carbonate-bound, Fe–Mn-oxide-bound and organic-bound fractions was significantly reduced, while the residual content of cadmium was increased. Changes in chemical fractions of cadmium and their transformation into more stable forms were also observed with application of all biochars. Use of all amendments led to a significant decrease in cadmium desorption during 48 h compared to the control soil, with sheep manure biochar + 6% zeolite combined treatment being the most effective. This was mainly attributed to the high-lime, P and O + S functional group content of the sheep manure biochar and the high pH and CEC of the natural zeolite. Ultimately, it was concluded that addition of sheep manure biochar + 6% zeolite combined treatment was best for enhancing the immobilization of cadmium in the contaminated calcareous soil.

Graphical Abstract


Stabilization Desorption Chemical forms Functional group Cation exchange capacity 



This work was supported by college of agriculture and natural resources of Darab, Shiraz University, Iran.


  1. Abdelhafez A, Li J, Abbas HH (2014) Feasibility of biochar manufactured from organic waste on the stabilization of heavy metals in a metal smelter contaminated soil. Chemosphere 117:66–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alloway BJ, Jackson AP (1991) The behavior of heavy metals in sewage sludge-amended soils. Sci Total Environ 100:151–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amacher MC (1996) Nickel, cadmium and lead, total nickel, cadmim and lead. In: Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis part 3—chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 739–768Google Scholar
  4. Amonette JE, Joseph S (2009) Physical properties of biochar. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management. Earthscan, London, pp 13–29Google Scholar
  5. Bian R, Chen D, Liu X, Cui L, Li L, Pan G, Xie D, Zheng J, Zhang X, Zheng J, Chang A (2013) Biochar soil amendment as a solution to prevent Cd-tainted rice from China: results from a cross-site field experiment. Ecol Eng 58:378–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bian R, Joseph S, Cui L, Pan G, Li L, Liu X, Zhang A, Rutlidge H, Wong S, Chia C, Marjo C, Gong B, Munroe P, Donne S (2014) A three-year experiment confirms continuous immobilization of cadmium and lead in contaminated paddy field with biochar amendment. J Hazard Mater 272:121–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bruckman VJ, Wriessnig K (2013) Improved soil carbonate determination by FTIR and X-ray aanalysis. Environ Chem Lett 11:65–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen B, Zhou D, Zhu L (2008) Transitional adsorption and partition of nonpolar and polar aromatic contaminants by biochars of pine needles with different pyrolytic temperatures. Environ Sci Technol 42:5137–5143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cui L, Yan J, Yang Y, Li L, Quan G, Ding C, Chen T, Fu Q, Chang A (2013) Influence of biochar on microbial activity of heavy metals contaminated paddy fields. Bioresources 8(4):5536–5548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dalal RC (1985) Comparative prediction of yield response and phosphate uptake from soil using anion- and cation–anion exchange resins. Soil Sci 139:227–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dang YP, Dalal DG, Edwards DG, Tiller KG (1994) Kinetics of zinc desorption from vertisols. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:1392–1399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis JA, Kent BD (1990) Surface complexation modelling in aqueous geochemistry. In: Hochella MF et al (eds) Mineral-water interface geochemistry. Mineralogical Society of America, Washington, DC, pp 177–305Google Scholar
  13. Debela F, Thring RW, Arocena JM (2012) Immobilization of heavy metals by co-pyrolysis of contaminated soil with woody biomass. Water Air Soil Pollut 223:1161–1170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ding Z, Hu X, Wan Y, Wang S, Gao B (2015) Removal of lead, copper, cadmium, zinc, and nickel from aqueous solutions by alkali-modified biochar: batch and column tests. J Ind Eng Chem 15:300–307Google Scholar
  15. Duquet B, Vedy JC (1991). Study of heavy metal speciation by physical fractioning and sequential extraction in sludge composted soil system. In: Proceedings of the international conference of heavy metals in the environment, vol 2, Edinburgh, pp 99–102Google Scholar
  16. EBC (2012) European biochar certificate—guidelines for a sustainable production of biochar. European Biochar Foundation (EBC), ArbazGoogle Scholar
  17. Gee GW, Or D (2002) Particle-size analysis, hydrometer method. In: Dane JH et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis part 4—physical methods. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 255–289Google Scholar
  18. Hosseini H, Shirani H, Hamidpour M, Karimi RR, Shamshiri MH, Hosseini MS, Dashti H (2013) Effects of natural and modified montmorillonite on plant availability of Cd (II) and Pb(II) in polluted soils. Environ Eng Manag J 12:2079–2086CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Inglezakis VJ, Loizidou MD, Grigoropoulou HP (2002) Equilibrium and kinetic ion exchange studies of Pb2+, Cr3+, Fe3+ and Cu2+ on natural clinoptilolite. Water Res 36(11):2784–2792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jamali MK, Kazi TG, Arain MB, Afridi HI, Jalbani N, Kandhro GA, Shah AQ, Baig JA (2009) Heavy metal accumulation in different varieties of wheat (Triticum aesitivm L.) grown in soil amended with domestic sewage sludge. J Hazard Mater 164:1386–1391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jiang J, Xu RK, Jiang TY, Li Z (2012) Immobilization of Cu (II), Pb(II) and Cd (II) by the addition of rice straw derived biochar to a simulated polluted ultisol. J Hazard Mater 145:229–230Google Scholar
  22. Jindo K, Mizumoto H, Sawada Y (2014) Physical and chemical characterization of biochars derived from different agricultural residues. Biogeosciences 11:6613–6621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jobstmann H, Singh B (2001) Cadmium sorption by hydroxyl-aluminium interlayered montmorillonite. Water Air Soil Pollut 131:203–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kabala C, Singh BR (2001) Fractionation and mobility of copper, lead, and zinc in soil profile in the vicinity of a copper smelter. J Environ Qual 30:485–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kamali S, Ronaghi A, Karimian N (2011) Soil zinc transformations as affected by applied zinc and organic materials. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 42(9):1038–1049CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kandpal G, Srivastava PC, Ram B (2005) Kinetics of desorption of heavy metals from polluted soils: influence of soil type and metal source. Water Air Soil Pollut 161:353–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karbassim A, Nasrabadi T, Rezai M, Modabberi S (2014) Pollution with metals (As, Sb, Hg, Zn) in agricultural soil located close to Zarshuran gold mine, Iran. Environ Eng Manag J 13:120–151Google Scholar
  28. Khanmirzaei A, Bazargan K, Moezzi A, Richards BK, Shahbazi K (2013) Single and sequential extraction of cadmium in some highly calcareous soils of Southwestern Iran. J Soil Sci plant Nutr 13(1):153–164Google Scholar
  29. Kieluweit M, Nico PS, Johnson MG, Kleber M (2010) Dynamic molecular structure of plant biomass-derived black carbon (biochar). Environ Sci Technol 44:1247–1253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krishnamurti GSR, Huang PM, Kozek LM (1999) Sorption and desorption kinetics of cadmium from soils: influence of phosphate. Soil Sci 164:888–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Krull ES, Baldock JA, Skjemstad JO, Smernik RJ (2009) Characteristics of biochar: organo-chemical properties. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management. Science and Technology, EarthscanGoogle Scholar
  32. Kuo S (1996) Phosphorus, extraction with buffered alkaline solution. In Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis part 3—chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 869–920Google Scholar
  33. Larkin P (2011) Infrared and Raman spectroscopy: principles and spectral interpretation. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  34. Lehmann J, Joseph S (2015) Biochar for environmental management: an introduction; science and technology. Earthscan, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Li ZB, Ryan JA, Chen JL, Al-Abed SR (2001) Adsorption of cadmium on bio solids amended soils. J Environ Qual 30:903–911CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lin CF, Lo SS, Lin HY, Lee Y (1998) Stabilization of cadmium contaminated soil using synthesized zeolite. J Hazard Mater 60(10):217–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lin-Vie D, Colthup NB, Fateley WG, Grasselli JG (1991) The handbook of infrared and Raman characteristic frequencies of organic molecules. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Loeppert RH, Inskeep WP (1996) Iron, diethylene tri amine pent acetic acid (DPTA) soil test. In: Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis part 3—chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 639–664Google Scholar
  39. Loeppert RH, Suarez L (1996) Carbonate and gypsum. In: Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 437–474Google Scholar
  40. Lu RK (1999) Analytical methods for soil agro chemistry. Chinese Agricultural Science and Technology Publishing: House, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  41. Lu K, Yang X, Gielen G, Bolan N, Sik Ok Y, Niazi N, Song X, Yuan G, Chen X, Zhang X, Liu D, Song Z, Liu X, Wang H (2016) Effect of bamboo and rice straw biochars on the mobility and redistribution of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn) in contaminated soil. J Environ Manag 22:1–8Google Scholar
  42. Lucchinia P, Quilliamc RS, DeLucad TH, Vameralia T, Jones DL (2014) Does biochar application alter heavy metal dynamics in agricultural soil? Agric Ecosyst Environ 184:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ma LQ, Rao GN (1997) Chemical fractionation of cadmium, copper, nickel, and zinc in contaminated soils. J Environ Qual 26:259–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mahabadi AA, Hajabbasi MA, Khademi H, Kazemian H (2007) Soil cadmium stabilization using an Iranian natural zeolite. Geoderma 137(3–4):388–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Melo CA, Coscionc AR, Aberu CA, Puga AP, Camargo OA (2013) Influence of pyrolysis temperature on cadmium and zinc sorption capacity of sugar cane straw derived biochar. Bioresources 8(4):4992–5004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mirzaei SMJ, Heidarpour M, Tabatabaei SH, Najafi P, Hashemi SE (2013) Immobilization of leachate’s heavy metals using soil-zeolite column. Int J Recycl Org Waste Agric 2(1):1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mohammad IA, Adel RA, Ahmed HE, Anwar AA, Hesham MI, Salem E, Abdulrasoul A (2015) Conocarpus biochar as a soil amendment for reducing heavy metal availability and uptake by maize plants. Saudi J Biol Sci 22:503–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mohammadi SM, Astarai AR, Fotovat A, Lakzian A, Taheri M (2011) Investigation of effect of zeolite and triple superphosphate on distribution of Pb, Zn and Cd in mine wastages (in Persian). Water Soil 25(1):42–50Google Scholar
  49. MSTATC (1991) Michigan state university. Wast Lansing, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  50. Mustafa G, Singh B, Kookana RS (2004) Cadmium adsorption and desorption behavior on goethite at low equilibrium concentration: effect of pH and index cations. Chemosphere 57:1325–1333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nelson DW, Sommers LE (1996) Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In: Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 961–1010Google Scholar
  52. Park JH, Choppala GK, Bolan NS, Chung JW, Chuasavathi T (2011) Biochar reduces the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of heavy metals. Plant Soil 348:439–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Peng J, Song Y, Yuan P, Cui X, Qiu G (2009) The remediation of heavy metals contaminated sediments. J Hazard Mater 161:633–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rajaei M, Karimian N, Maftoun M, Yasrebi J, Assad MT (2006) Chemical forms of cadmium in two calcareous soil textural classes as affected by application of cadmium-enriched compost and incubation time. Geoderma 136:533–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rezaei Rashti RM, Esfandbod M, Adhami E, Srivastava P (2014) Cadmium desorption behaviour in selected sub-tropical soils: effects of soil properties. J Geochem Explor 144:230–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rhoades JD (1996) Salinity: electrical conductivity and total dissolved salts. In: Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 417–436Google Scholar
  57. Ro KS, Cantrell KB, Hunt PG (2010) High-temperature pyrolysis of blended animal manures for producing renewable energy and value-added biochar. Ind Eng Chem Res 49(20):10125–10131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Saffari M, Karimian N, Ronaghi A, Yasrebi J, Ghasemi-fasaie R (2015) Immobilization of cadmium in a Cd-spiked soil by different kinds of amendments. J Chem Health Risks 5(3):221–233Google Scholar
  59. Sahito OM, Afridi HI, Kazi TG, Baig JA (2015) Evaluation of heavy metals bioavailability in soil amended with poultry manure using single and BCR sequential extractions. Int J Environ Anal Chem 95:1066–1079Google Scholar
  60. Salbu B, Krekling T, Oughton DH (1998) Characterization of radioactive particles in the environment. Analyst 123:843–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Shanableh A, Kharabsheh A (1996) Stabilization of Cd, Ni and Pb in soil using natural zeolite. J Hazard Mater 45(2–3):207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shuman LM (1985) Fractionation method for soil microelements. Soil Sci 140:11–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Singh BR (1994) Trace element availability to plants in agricultural soils, with special emphasis on fertilizer inputs. Environ Rev 2(2):133–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sparks DL (2011) Kinetics and mechanisms of soil chemical reactions. In: Huang PM et al (eds) Handbook of soil sciences: properties and processes, 2nd ed. CRC Press (Taylor and Francis), Boca Raton, pp 13-1–13-30Google Scholar
  65. Sun Y, Gao B, Yao Y, Fang J, Zhang M, Zhao Y, Chen H, Yang L (2014) Effect of feedstock type, production method and pyrolysis temperature on biochar and hydrobiochar properties. Chem Eng J 240:574–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tang J, Zhu W, Kookana R, Katayama A (2013) Characteristics of biochar and its application in remediation of contaminated soil. J Biosci Bioeng 116:653–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tessier A, Campbell PGC, Bisson M (1979) Sequential extraction procedure for the speciation of particulate trace metals. Anal Chem 51(7):844–851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Thomas GW (1996) Soil pH and soil acidity. In: Sparks DL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Madison, Wis, pp 475–490Google Scholar
  69. Uchimiya M, Lima IM, Klasson KT, Wartelle LH (2010) Contaminant immobilization and nutrient release by biochar soil amendment: roles of natural organic matter. Chemosphere 80:935–940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Violante A, Krishnamurti GS (2007) Factors affecting the sorption–desorption of trace elements in soil environments. In: Violante A et al (eds) Biophysico-chemical processes of heavy metals and metalloids in soil environments. Wiley, New Jersey, pp 169–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Xiong SJ, Xu WH, Chen R, Xie WW, Chen YQ, Chi SL, Chen X, Zhang JZ, Xiong ZT, Wang ZY, Xie DT (2015) Effect of nono zeolite on chemical fractionation of Cd in soil and its uptake by cabbage. Huan Jing Ke Xue 36(12):4630–4641Google Scholar
  72. Yang X, Liu J, McGrouther K, Hung H, Lu K, Gao X, He L, Lin X, Che L, Ye Z, Wang H (2015) Effect of biochar on the extractability of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) and enzyme activity in soil. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22(5):3183–3190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zahedifar M, Karimian N, Yasrebi J (2012) Influence of applied zinc and organic matter on zinc desorption kinetics in calcareous soils. Arch Agron Soil Sci 58(2):169–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zhang Z, Solaiman Z, Meney K, Murphy D, Rengel Z (2013) Biochars immobilize soil cadmium, but do not improve growth of emergent wetland species Juncus subsecundus in cadmium-contaminated soil. J Soils Sedim 13:140–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. Boostani
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. G. Hardie
    • 2
  • M. Najafi-Ghiri
    • 1
  • D. Khalili
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Range and Watershed Management, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of DarabShiraz UniversityDarabIran
  2. 2.Department of Soil Science, Faculty of AgriSciencesStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, College of SciencesShiraz UniversityShirazIran

Personalised recommendations