Do biochars influence the availability and human oral bioaccessibility of Cd, Pb, and Zn in a contaminated slightly alkaline soil?

  • Adeline Janus
  • Christophe Waterlot
  • Sophie Heymans
  • Christophe Deboffe
  • Francis Douay
  • Aurélie Pelfrêne


Different remediation techniques have been used to restore metal-contaminated sites, including stabilizing metals by adding amendments to the soils. This study experimented three biochars, made from wood and miscanthus, cultivated on contaminated and uncontaminated soils, used as amendments at a 2% application rate on a metal-contaminated soil for 9 months in laboratory-controlled conditions. The objective was to evaluate whether biochars were able to decrease the availability and human oral bioaccessibility of metals in an alkaline soil. To meet this goal, the modifications of the soil’s physicochemical parameters, metal distribution in soil, and human bioaccessibility were evaluated at different sampling times. The results showed that biochar application to the alkaline soil did not always decrease the soil metal availability, which challenges the value of using biochars in already slightly alkaline soils at a low application rate. However, differences in efficiency between the three biochars tested were highlighted. The biochar produced with miscanthus cultivated on uncontaminated soil led to higher soil metal bioaccessibility. Moreover, because of the absence of any increase in soil metal availability with the biochar produced from biomass cultivated on contaminated soil, the use of such biochars can be recommended for the remediation of contaminated soil.


Biochar Alkaline soil Contaminated biomass Metal distribution Oral bioaccessibility 



The authors wish to thank the Hauts-de-France Regional Council and Bpifrance for the financial support of this research and the CIRAD for the production and characterization of the biochars. The authors also warmly thank David Houben who provided the biochar made from Miscanthus × giganteus cultivated on uncontaminated soil.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yncréa Hauts-de-France, Laboratoire Génie Civil et géoEnvironnement (LGCgE)Lille CedexFrance
  2. 2.Néo-Eco RecyclingHaubourdinFrance

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