Characterization of pig manure-derived hydrochars for their potential application as fertilizer

  • Chengfang Song
  • Shengdao Shan
  • Karin Müller
  • Shengchun Wu
  • Nabeel Khan Niazi
  • Song Xu
  • Ying Shen
  • Jörg Rinklebe
  • Dan Liu
  • Hailong Wang
Environmental functions of biochar


In China, intensive pig farming has led to serious environmental issues with the need to dispose off large quantities of pig manure. Chinese agriculture relies on high inputs of chemical fertilizers leading to gradual decreasing organic matter contents in many arable soils. We propose that hydrochars produced from pig manure could potentially replace chemical fertilizers and, at the same time, resolve the waste disposal problem. The hydrochars used in this study were produced from pig manure at five different pyrolysis temperatures ranging between 160 and 240 °C and three residence times (1, 5, and 8 h). All hydrochars were assessed for composition of major elements. Results showed that the yield and organic matter (OM) contents in hydrochars were 50–74% and 40–56%, respectively. The concentrations of total nitrogen (N), potassium (K2O), and OM in the hydrochar decreased, whereas contents of phosphorus (P2O5), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) increased with increasing reaction temperature and time. Hydrothermal carbonization of pig manure is a rapid method for transforming pig manure into an organic fertilizer, but it is necessary to assess the potential soil contamination risk of Cu and Zn for the pig manure hydrochar as organic fertilizer.


Pig manure Hydrothermal carbonization Hydrochar Biochar Organic fertilizer 



This study was supported by the National Science and Technology Cooperation Project (2014DFE90040), Key Innovation Team Project of Zhejiang Province, China (2013TD12), the Natural Science Foundation of China (41501341; 21577131), the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation, China (Y16D010036, LZ15D010001), the Guangdong Provincial Natural Science Foundation, China (2017A030311019), and the Special Funding for the Introduced Innovative R&D Team of Dongguan (2014607101003).


  1. Ahmad M, Lee SS, Dou XM, Mohan D, Sung JK, Yang JE, Ok YS (2012) Effects of pyrolysis temperature on soybean stover- and peanut shell-derived biochar properties and TCE adsorption in water. Bioresour Technol 118:536–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Wabel MI, Al-Omran A, El-Naggar AH, Nadeem M, Usman ARA (2013) Pyrolysis temperature induced changes in characteristics and chemical composition of biochar produced from conocarpus wastes. Bioresour Technol 131:374–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azuara M, Kersten SRA, Kootstra AMJ (2013) Recycling phosphorus by fast pyrolysis of pig manure: concentration and extraction of phosphorus combined with formation of value-added pyrolysis products. Biomass Bioenergy 49:171–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Braghiroli FL, Fierro V, Izquierdo MT, Parmentier J, Pizzi A, Celzard A (2014) Kinetics of the hydrothermal treatment of tannin for producing carbonaceous microspheres. Bioresour Technol 151:271–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dai LC, Wu B, Tan FR, He MX, Wang WG, Qin H, Tang XY, Zhu QL, Pan K, Hu QC (2014) Engineered hydrochar composites for phosphorus removal/recovery: lanthanum doped hydrochar prepared by hydrothermal carbonization of lanthanum pretreated rice straw. Bioresour Technol 161:327–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dai LC, Tan FR, Wu B, He MX, Wang WG, Tang XY, Hu QC, Zhang M (2015) Immobilization of phosphorus in cow manure during hydrothermal carbonization. J Environ Manag 157:49–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deng W, Van Zwieten L, Lin Z, Liu X, Sarmah AK, Wang H (2017) Sugarcane bagasse biochars impact respiration and greenhouse gas emissions from a latosol. J Soils Sediments 17:632–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dong ZR (2006) Effects of swine manure-born heavy metals on accumulation of heavy metals in vegetable soil and vegetables. MSc thesis. Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, ChinaGoogle Scholar
  9. Dong D, Yang M, Wang C, Wang H, Li Y, Luo J, Wu W (2013) Responses of methane emissions and rice yield to applications of biochar and straw in a paddy field. J Soils Sediments 13:1450–1460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dong D, Feng Q, McGrouther K, Yang M, Wang H, Wu W (2015) Effects of biochar amendment on rice growth and nitrogen retention in a waterlogged paddy field. J Soils Sediments 15:153–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ekpo U, Ross AB, Camargo-Valero MA, Fletcher LA (2016) Influence of pH on hydrothermal treatment of swine manure: impact on extraction of nitrogen and phosphorus in process water. Bioresour Technol 214:637–644CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ghanim BM, Pandey DS, Kwapinski W, Leahy JJ (2016) Hydrothermal carbonisation of poultry litter: effects of treatment temperature and residence time on yields and chemical properties of hydrochars. Bioresour Technol 216:373–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. He L, Gielen G, Bolan N, Zhang X, Qin H, Huang H, Wang H (2015) Contamination and remediation of phthalic acid esters in agricultural soils in China: a review. Agron Sust Dev 35:519–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jiang T, Schuchardt F, Li GX, Guo R, Zhao YQ (2011) Effect of C/N ratio, aeration rate and moisture content on ammonia and greenhouse gas emission during the composting. J Environ Sci 23:1754–1760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kaal J, Cortizas AM, Reyes O, Soliño M (2012) Molecular characterization of Ulexeuropaeus biochar obtained from laboratory heat treatment experiments—a pyrolysis–GC/MS study. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 95:205–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Li YH (2015) Study on resource utilization potential of livestock and poultry manure. Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China, MSc thesisGoogle Scholar
  17. Li L, Diederick R, Joseph RV, Berge ND (2013) Hydrothermal carbonization of food waste and associated packaging materials for energy source generation. Waste Manag 33:2478–2492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liu RL, Li ST, Wang XB, Wang M (2005) Contents of heavy metal in main commercial organic fertilizers and organic wastes. J Agro-Environ Sci 24:392–397Google Scholar
  19. Liu YX, Yang M, Wu YM, Wang HL, Chen YX, Wu WX (2011) Reducing CH4 and CO2 emissions from waterlogged paddy soil with biochar. J Soils Sediments 11:930–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lu RK (1999) Analytical methods for soil agrochemistry. Chinese agricultural science and technology publishing house (in Chinese), BeijingGoogle Scholar
  21. Lu DA, Yan BX, Wang LX, Deng ZQ, Zhang YB (2013) Changes in phosphorus fractions and nitrogen forms during composting of pig manure with rice straw. J Integr Agric 12:1855–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lu K, Yang X, Shen J, Robinson B, Huang H, Liu D, Bolan N, Pei J, Wang H (2014) Effect of bamboo and rice straw biochars on the bioavailability of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn to Sedum plumbizincicola. Agric Ecosyst Environ 191:124–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lu K, Yang X, Gielen G, Bolan N, Ok YS, Niazi NK, Xu S, Yuan G, Chen X, Zhang X, Liu D, Song Z, Liu X, Wang H (2017) 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 Manage 186(Part 2):285–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meesuk S, Sato K, Cao JP, Hoshino A, Utsumi K, Takarada T (2013) Catalytic reforming of nitrogen-containing volatiles evolved through pyrolysis of composted pig manure. Bioresour Technol 150:181–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mehmood T, Bibi I, Shahid M, Niazi NK, Murtaza B, Wang H, Ok YS, Sarkar B, Javed MT, Murtaza G (2017) Effect of compost addition on arsenic uptake, morphological and physiological attributes of maize plants grown in contrasting soils. J Geochem Explor 178:83–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ministry of Agriculture (2012) Organic fertilizer standards (NY525-2012). Ministry of agriculture, Beijing, PR ChinaGoogle Scholar
  27. Nonaka H, Funaoka M (2011) Decomposition characteristics of softwood lignophenol under hydrothermal conditions. Biomass Bioenergy 35:1607–1611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Poerschmann J, Weiner B, Baskyr I (2013) Organic compounds in olive mill wastewater and in solutions resulting from hydrothermal carbonization of the wastewater. Chemosphere 92:1472–1482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reibe K, Götz KP, Roß CL, Döring TF, Ellmer F, Ruess L (2015) Impact of quality and quantity of biochar and hydrochar on soil Collembola and growth of spring wheat. Soil Biol Biochem 83:84–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ro KS, Novak JM, Johnson MG, Szogi AA, Libra JA, Spokas KA, Bae S (2016) Leachate water quality of soils amended with different swine manure-based amendments. Chemosphere 142:92–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sevilla M, Fuertes AB (2009) The production of carbon materials by hydrothermal carbonization of cellulose. Carbon 47:2281–2289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shao ZH, Zhang DQ, Shao LM (2009) Characterization of water-extractable organic matter during the biostabilization of municipal solid waste. J Hazard Mater 164(27):1191–1197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tsai WT, Liu SC, Chen HR, Chang YM, Tsai YL (2012) Textural and chemical properties of swine-manure-derived biochar pertinent to its potential use as a soil amendment. Chemosphere 89:198–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tumuhairwe JB, Tenywa JS, Erasmus O (2009) Comparison of four low-technology composting methods for market crop wastes. Waste Manag 29:2274–2281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang HL, Lin KD, Hou ZN, Richardson B, Gan J (2010) Sorption of the herbicide terbuthylazine in two New Zealand forest soils amended with biosolids and biochars. J Soils Sediments 10:283–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang C, Tu Q, Dong D, Strong PJ, Wang H, Sun B, Wu W (2014) Spectroscopic evidence for biochar amendment promoting humic acid synthesis and intensifying humification during composting. J Hazard Mater 280:409–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang HP, Zhang Q, Li Y, Ren LH, Li FL, Luo T, Weng BQ, Wang QY (2015a) Effects of pyrolysis temperature on yield and physicochemical characteristics of biochar from animal manures. J Agro-Environ Sci 34:2208–2214Google Scholar
  38. Wang WJ, Li B, Li LQ (2015b) Influence of low-temperature pyrolysis treatment on bioavailability of heavy metals in pig manure. J Agro-Environ Sci 34:994–1000Google Scholar
  39. Wu W, Li J, Niazi NK, Müller K, Chu Y, Zhang L, Yuan G, Lu K, Song Z, Wang H (2016) Influence of pyrolysis temperature on lead immobilization by chemically modified coconut fiber-derived biochars in aqueous environments. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23:22890–22896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wu W, Li J, Lan T, Müller K, Niazi NK, Chen X, Xu S, Zheng L, Chu Y, Li J, Yuan G, Wang H (2017) Unraveling sorption of lead in aqueous solutions by chemically modified biochar derived from coconut fiber: a microscopic and spectroscopic investigation. Sci Total Environ 576:766–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xie ZL, Zhu HS, Li WY, Li XY, Cao WD, Niu HY, Li J (2011) Distribution of Cu and Zn in feces/soil system of livestock and poultry manure in Jilin Province. J Agric Environ Sci 30:2279–2284Google Scholar
  42. Xing YW, Li R (1999) The nutrient database of China organic fertilizer. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  43. Xu X, Cao X, Zhao L, Wang H, Yu H, Gao B (2013) Removal of Cu, Zn, and Cd from aqueous solutions by the dairy manure-derived biochar. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20:358–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Xu CY, Hosseini-Bai S, Hao Y, Rachaputi RCN, Wang H, Xu Z, Wallace H (2015) Effect of biochar amendment on yield and photosynthesis of peanut on two types of soils. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22:6112–6125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yang X, Liu J, McGrouther K, Huang H, Lu K, Guo X, He L, Lin X, Che L, Ye Z, Wang H (2016) Effect of biochar on the extractability of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) and enzyme activity in soil. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23:974–984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yang X, Lu K, McGrouther K, Che L, Hu G, Wang Q, Liu X, Shen L, Huang H, Ye Z, Wang H (2017) Bioavailability of Cd and Zn in soils treated with biochars derived from tobacco stalk and dead pigs. J Soils Sediments 17:751–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhang X, Wang H, He L, Lu K, Sarmah A, Li J, Bolan N, Pei J, Huang H (2013) Using biochar for remediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals and organic pollutants. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20:8472–8483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang JH, Lin QM, Zhao XR (2014a) The hydrochar characters of municipal sewage sludge under different hydrothermal temperatures and durations. J Integr Agric 13:471–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhang X, He L, Sarmah AK, Lin K, Liu Y, Li J, Wang H (2014b) Retention and release of diethyl phthalate in biochar-amended vegetable garden soils. J Soils Sediments 14:1790–1799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhu FX, Yao YL, Wang SJ, Du RG, Wang WP, Chen XY, Hong CL, Qi B, Xue ZY, Yang HQ (2015) Housefly maggot-treated composting as sustainable option for pig manure management. Waste Manag 35:62–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zornoza R, Moreno-Barriga F, Acosta JA, Muñoz MA, Faz A (2016) Stability, nutrient availability and hydrophobicity of biochars derived from manure, crop residues, and municipal solid waste for their use as soil amendments. Chemosphere 144:122–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zuo XJ, Liu ZG, Chen MD (2016) Effect of H2O2 concentrations on copper removal using the modified hydrothermal biochar. Bioresour Technol 207:262–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chengfang Song
    • 1
  • Shengdao Shan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karin Müller
    • 3
  • Shengchun Wu
    • 1
  • Nabeel Khan Niazi
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Song Xu
    • 7
  • Ying Shen
    • 1
  • Jörg Rinklebe
    • 8
  • Dan Liu
    • 1
  • Hailong Wang
    • 7
    • 9
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Soil Contamination Bioremediation of Zhejiang Province, School of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang A&F UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Recycling and Eco-treatment of Waste Biomass of Zhejiang ProvinceZhejiang University of Science and TechnologyHangzhouChina
  3. 3.The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Ruakura Research CentreHamiltonNew Zealand
  4. 4.Institute of Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Agriculture FaisalabadFaisalabadPakistan
  5. 5.MARUM and Department of GeosciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  6. 6.Southern Cross GeoScienceSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia
  7. 7.School of Environment and Chemical EngineeringFoshan UniversityFoshanChina
  8. 8.Institute of Foundation Engineering, Water- and Waste-Management, School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Soil- and Groundwater-ManagementUniversity of WuppertalWuppertalGermany
  9. 9.Guangdong Dazhong Agriculture Science Co. LtdDongguanChina

Personalised recommendations