Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2018
Publication Date: 3/16/2018
Citation: Sigua, G.C., Novak, J.M. 2018. Recycled agricultural wastes: biochars multifunctional role in agriculture and environment. In: Proceedings of World Conference on Ecology, March 19-20, 2018, Berlin, Germany. p. 38-39.
Technical Abstract: The rapid population growth, urbanization and modernization worldwide have resulted in the significant increase of waste generated. Waste production is a major environmental problem in our society. In fact, recycling and using raw materials from the waste we generate are some of the environmental challenges that we face today. Promotion of innovative and appropriate technologies is necessary to achieve sound and sustainable waste management. Biochar production using pyrolysis technology can utilize most urban, agricultural or forestry biomass residues, including wood chips, corn stover, rice or peanut hulls, tree bark, paper mill sludge, animal manure, and many other recycled organics. Biochar is the solid product that results from pyrolysis of agricultural wastes and organic materials. Biochars as specialized soil amendments can provide multifunctional roles with remarkable agronomic and environmental significance. Our biochars studies demonstrated the favorable and beneficial effects of different designer biochars on biomass productivity and nutrient uptake of winter wheat grown in Norfolk soils with hard setting subsoil layer. Application of 80:20 blends of pine chips and poultry litters was found to be superior over other blends of biochars because of its favorable effects on biomass productivity and nutrient uptake of winter wheat. Our research investigations have also confirmed that biochars have binding mechanisms to sequester metals. Recently, biochar's ability to sequester metals has caught the attention of the mine reclamation sector. It is proposed that biochar is a suitable amendment to remediate heavy metals in mine spoils, as well as improve chemical conditions for enhanced plant growth. Better plant growth will improve phytostabilization, increase containment of metal-laden sediment, while also reducing potential metal uptake by plants. As such, utilization of a biochar with appropriate chemical and physical characteristics is crucial for effective binding of heavy metals while also improving plant growth conditions in the mine spoils.