Contrasting effects of biochar and hydrothermally treated coal gangue on leachability, bioavailability, speciation and accumulation of heavy metals by rapeseed in copper mine tailings

Munir, Mehr Ahmed Mujtaba
Liu, Guijian
Yousaf, Balal
Mian, Md Manik
Ali, Muhammad Ubaid
Ahmed, Rafay
Cheema, Ayesha Imtiyaz
Naushad, Mu
The purpose of this research was to examine the influence of hydrothermally treated coal gangue (HTCG) with and without biochar (BC) on the leaching, bioavailability, and redistribution of chemical fractions of heavy metals (HMs) in copper mine tailing (Cu-MT). An increase in pH, water holding capacity (WHC) and soil organic carbon (SOC) were observed due to the addition of BC in combination with raw coal gangue (RCG) and HTCG. A high Cu and other HMs concentration in pore water (PW) and amended Cu-MT were reduced by the combination of BC with RCG and/or HTCG, whereas individual application of RCG slightly increased the Cu, Cd, and Zn leaching and bioavailability, compared to the unamended Cu-MT. Sequential extractions results showed a reduction in the exchangeable fraction of Cu, Cd, Pb, and Zn and elevation in the residual fraction following the addition of BC-2% and BC-HTCG. However, individual application of RCG slightly increased the Cu, Cd, and Zn exchangeable fractions assessed by chemical extraction method. Rapeseed was grown for the following 45 days during which physiological parameters, metal uptake transfer rate (TR), bioconcentration factor (BCF), and translocation factor (TF) were measured after harvesting. In the case of plant biomass, no significant difference between applied amendments was observed for the fresh biomass (FBM) and dry biomass (DBM) of shoots and roots of rapeseed. However, BC-2% and BC-HTCG presented the lowest HMs uptake, TR, BCF (BCFroot and BCFshoot), and TF for Cu, Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, and Zn in rapeseed among the other amendments compared to the unamended Cu -MT. Overall, these findings are indicative that using biochar in combination with RCG and/or HTCG led to a larger reduction in HMs leaching and bioavailability, due to their higher sorption capacity and could be a suitable remediation strategy for heavy metals in a Cu-MT.


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Citation Formats
M. A. M. Munir et al., “Contrasting effects of biochar and hydrothermally treated coal gangue on leachability, bioavailability, speciation and accumulation of heavy metals by rapeseed in copper mine tailings,” ECOTOXICOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY, pp. 0–0, 2020, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: