Characterization and determination of the toxicological risk of biochar using invertebrate toxicity tests in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico

  • Following a quantitative analysis of adequate feedstock, comprising 11 woody biomass species, four biochars were generated using a Kon-Tiki flame curtain kiln in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico. Despite the high quality (certified by European Biochar Certificate), the biochars contain substantial quantities of hazardous substances, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, polychlorinated biphenyls, and heavy metals, which can induce adverse effects if wrongly applied to the environment. To assess the toxicity of biochars to non-target organisms, toxicity tests with four benthic and zooplanktonic invertebrate species, the ciliate Paramecium caudatum, the rotifer Lecane quadridentata, and the cladocerans Daphnia magna and Moina macrocopa were performed using biochar elutriates. In acute and chronic toxicity tests, no acute toxic effect to ciliates, but significant lethality to rotifers and cladocerans was detected. This lethal toxicity might be due to ingestion/digestion by enzymatic/mechanic processes of biochar by cladocerans and rotifers of toxic substances present in the biochar. No chronic toxicity was found where biochar elutriates were mixed with soil. These data indicate that it is instrumental to use toxicity tests to assess biochars’ toxicity to the environment, especially when applied close to sensitive habitats, and to stick closely to the quantitative set-point values.

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Author:Felix Flesch, Pia Berger, Daniel Robles-VargasORCiD, Gustavo Emilio Santos-Medrano, Roberto Rico-MartinezORCiD
Parent Title (English):Applied Sciences
Document Type:Article (specialist journals)
Date of OPUS upload:2023/03/01
Date of first Publication:2019/04/25
Publishing University:Hochschule Trier
Release Date:2023/03/01
Tag:LC50; acute toxicity test; elutriate; enzymatic/mechanic digestion; hazardous substances; interstitial water
GND Keyword:Pflanzenkohle; Toxizität; Toxizitätstest; Letalität; Wirbellose; Paramecium caudatum; Rädertiere; Wasserfloh; Verdauung; Mexiko; Aguascalientes (Staat)
Article Number:1706
Page Number:19
First Page:1
Last Page:19
Departments:Institute / IfaS - Institut für angewandtes Stoffstrommanagement
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 54 Chemie
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International