Fernández-Martínez M., Margalef O., Sayol F., Asensio D., Bagaria G., Corbera J., Sabater F., Domene X., Preece C. (2019) Sea spray influences water chemical composition of Mediterranean semi-natural springs. Catena. 173: 414-423.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.catena.2018.10.035
Sea spray aerosol (SSA) is responsible for the large-scale transfer of particles from the sea to the land, leading to significant deposition of a range of ions, predominantly Na+, K+, Mg2+ Ca2+, and Cl−. Up to now, there has been little research into the effects of SSA on spring water chemistry. Therefore, we sampled 303 semi-natural springs across Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula) and analysed the concentrations of 20 different ions and elements, and determined the impact of SSA (using distance to the coast as a proxy) as well as climate, lithology and human disturbances. We found that distance to the coast had a clear effect on the water chemical composition of springs, while accounting for potentially confounding factors such as anthropogenic water pollution (nitrate, NO3 −), differences in lithology and annual rainfall. Our results showed that springs located closer to the coast had higher Cl−, SO4 2−, Na+, Mg2+, K+ and Ca2+ concentrations than those of springs located further away. Precipitation was generally negatively correlated with the concentration of almost all elements analysed. The concentration of NO3 − increased with distance to the coast, concurrently with farming activities, located mainly inland in the study area. These results demonstrate that SSA has an important effect on the groundwater of coastal zones, up to a distance of around 70 km from the coastline. This analysis reveals the main natural and human processes that influence spring water chemistry in this Mediterranean region, information that could be helpful in similar regions for ecological studies, water quality policies, and for the improvement of predictions in the current context of global change. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
Zhao J.J., Shen X.-J., Domene X., Alcañiz J.-M., Liao X., Palet C. (2019) Comparison of biochars derived from different types of feedstock and their potential for heavy metal removal in multiple-metal solutions. Scientific Reports. 9: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46234-4
Three different types of feedstocks and their biochars were used to remove Cr(III), Cd(II), Cu(II) and Pb(II) ions from a mixture of multiple heavy metals. The effect of the initial concentration of heavy metals in solution has been analysed, and kinetics modelling and a comparison of the adsorption capacity of such materials have been performed to elucidate the possible adsorption mechanisms. The results show that the adsorption capacity is dependent on the type of feedstock and on the pyrolysis conditions. The adsorption capacity of the biomass types is ranked as follows: FO (from sewage sludge)>> LO > ZO (both from agriculture biomass waste)>> CO (from wood biomass waste). Biochars, which are the product of the pyrolysis of feedstocks, clearly improve the adsorption efficiency in the case of those derived from wood and agricultural biomasses. Complexation and cation exchange have been found to be the two main adsorption mechanisms in systems containing multiple heavy metals, with cation exchange being the most significant. The pore structure of biomass/biochar cannot be neglected when investigating the adsorption mechanism of each material. All the disposal biomasses presented here are good alternatives for heavy metal removal from wastewaters. © 2019, The Author(s).
Raya-Moreno I., Cañizares R., Domene X., Carabassa V., Alcañiz J.M. (2017) Comparing current chemical methods to assess biochar organic carbon in a Mediterranean agricultural soil amended with two different biochars. Science of the Total Environment. 598: 604-618.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.168
Several methods have been proposed to quantify biochar C recalcitrance but their suitability is questionable. The aims of this work are: i) to compare the suitability of thermal or chemical oxidation and acid hydrolysis methods to quantify biochar C-pool in a biochar-amended soil, and ii) to calculate the biochar content in the soil through a mass balance derived from the obtained data. Two contrasted biochars from pine wood and corn cob remains were incorporated at a rate of 5 Mg C ha− 1 to a sandy loam vineyard soil with neutral pH and low organic carbon content, in field conditions. The analytical methods used to determine the oxidability and hydrolyzation of soil and biochar-C were: i) weight loss-on-ignition (LOI) at three temperatures (375 °C, 550 °C and 950 °C) for the assessment of organic matter, and ii) dry-combustion (TOC), strong (sO) and mild (mO) acid potassium dichromate oxidations, acid hydrolysis (AH) and peroxide oxidation (PO) for the assessment of organic C-pools. mO mainly estimated the easy oxidisable organic fraction of soil. Resistant organic carbon (ROC), estimated as non-hydrolysable organic carbon by AH and as non-oxidisable by mO, led to similar values in control soil (5 g C kg− 1 soil), whereas different ROC values were obtained in soils amended with biochar (6–12 g C kg− 1 soil). The suitability of these different methods as proxies to quantify biochar C was verified through a mass balance observing differences between them. PO removes well native soil organic matter, but also attacks partially biochar's fraction, so an underestimation exists. However, mO leaves intact biochar in the amended soil. Summarising, LOI, TOC and mO were the best proxies for biochar-C quantification, especially the last one, somewhat clarifying the debate on this topic. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
Tu, B., Domene, X., Yao, M., Li, C., Zhang, S., Kou, Y., Wang, Y., Li, X. (2017) Microbial diversity in Chinese temperate steppe: unveiling the most influential environmental drivers. FEMS microbiology ecology. 93: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1093/femsec/fix031
Domene, X. (2016) A Critical Analysis of Meso- and Macrofauna Effects Following Biochar Supplementation. Biochar Application: Essential Soil Microbial Ecology. : 268-292.LinkDoi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-803433-0.00011-4
Marks E.A.N., Mattana S., Alcañiz J.M., Pérez-Herrero E., Domene X. (2016) Gasifier biochar effects on nutrient availability, organic matter mineralization, and soil fauna activity in a multi-year Mediterranean trial. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 215: 30-39.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.agee.2015.09.004
Gasifier pine biochar is a carbon-rich material which may be useful as a soil amendment. In Europe and elsewhere there may be potential added value of char produced in industrial gasifiers, up to now considered as wastes. Pine gasification biochar was tested as a soil amendment in a multi-year Mediterranean barley crop field trial, applied at 12 and 50tha-1 while applying half the usual N rate at 50kgha-1, contrasted with a full 100kg ha-1 N fertilizer treatment without biochar. Over the 6-30 month period following the application, biochar treatments did not have any significant effect on soil microbial biomass, respiration, or metabolic coefficient. N mineralization as NO3 - was decreased by biochar at 6 and 12 months from experiment start and coincided with ammonium accumulation. Biochar increased overall soil concentrations of K+ and SO4 2-, attributed to a direct additive effect, agreeing with data from other sources. Biochar treatments (with half usual N fertilization) did not have any significant effects on barley crop parameters, and when biochar treatments were contrasted against full N fertilization with no biochar, the usual N dosage was clearly more beneficial to crop development. Finally, soil fauna activity was negatively impacted by gasifier biochar treatments in years two and three, indicating a risk to soil processes mediated by soil invertebrates. Though this gasifier biochar is expected to be highly stable and therefore of interest for carbon sequestration, its utilization therefore risks negative effects on some biologically-mediated soil processes at high application rates. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Tammeorg, P., Bastos, A.C., Jeffery, S., Rees, F., Kern, J., Graber, E.R., Ventura, M., Kibblewhite, M., Amaro, A., Budai, A., Cordovil, C.M.D.S., Domene, X., Gardi, C., Gascó, G., Horák, J., Kammann, C., Kondrlova, E., Laird, D., Loureiro, S., Martins, M.A.S., Panzacchi, P., Prasad, M., Prodana, M., Puga, A.P., Ruysschaert, G., Sas-Paszt, L., Silva, F.C., Teixeira, W.G., Tonon, G., Delle Vedove, G., Zavalloni, C., Glaser, B., Verheijen, F.G.A. (2016) Biochars in soils: towards the required level of scientific understanding. Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management. : 1-16.LinkDoi: 10.3846/16486897.2016.1239582
Domene X., Enders A., Hanley K., Lehmann J. (2015) Ecotoxicological characterization of biochars: Role of feedstock and pyrolysis temperature. Science of the Total Environment. 512-513: 552-561.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.12.035
Seven contrasting feedstocks were subjected to slow pyrolysis at low (300 or 350°C) and high temperature (550 or 600°C), and both biochars and the corresponding feedstocks tested for short-term ecotoxicity using basal soil respiration and collembolan reproduction tests. After a 28-d incubation, soil basal respiration was not inhibited but stimulated by additions of feedstocks and biochars. However, variation in soil respiration was dependent on both feedstock and pyrolysis temperature. In the last case, respiration decreased with pyrolysis temperature (r=-0.78; p<0.0001, n=21) and increased with a higher volatile matter content (r=0.51; p<0.017), these two variables being correlated (r=-0.86, p<0.0001). Collembolan reproduction was generally unaffected by any of the additions, but when inhibited, it was mostly influenced by feedstock, and generally without any influence of charring itself and pyrolysis temperature. Strong inhibition was only observed in uncharred food waste and resulting biochars. Inhibition effects were probably linked to high soluble Na and NH4 concentrations when both feedstocks and biochars were considered, but mostly to soluble Na when only biochars were taken into account. The general lack of toxicity of the set of slow pyrolysis biochars in this study at typical field application rates (≤20Mgha-1) suggests a low short-term toxicity risk. At higher application rates (20-540Mgha-1), some biochars affected collembolan reproduction to some extent, but only strongly in the food waste biochars. Such negative impacts were not anticipated by the criteria set in currently available biochar quality standards, pointing out the need to consider ecotoxicological criteria either explicitly or implicitly in biochar characterization schemes or in management recommendations. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Domene X., Hanley K., Enders A., Lehmann J. (2015) Short-term mesofauna responses to soil additions of corn stover biochar and the role of microbial biomass. Applied Soil Ecology. 89: 10-17.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2014.12.005
Biochar additions have been suggested to influence soil microbial communities that, through a cascade effect, may also impact soil fauna. In turn, any direct biochar effects on fauna can influence microbial communities through grazing, physical fragmentation of organic debris (and biochar) and modifying soil structure. If biochar creates a favorable environment for soil microorganisms, it is also plausible for fauna to be attracted to such microbially enriched habitats. However, how soil fauna respond to biochar addition to soil and what are the main factors that drive their behavior has rarely been experimentally addressed. Therefore, the behavior of two mesofauna species was assessed as a result of corn stover biochar (slow pyrolysis at 600°C) additions to a loamy temperate soil, after preincubation for 2, 17, 31 and 61d, and related to variations in microbial biomass and activity. Microbial biomass increased by 5-56% and activity by 6-156% with increasing biochar rates for the different preincubation times. Over the incubation time, microbial biomass did not change or increased at most 15% with the different biochar rates, while in turn microbial activity decreased steadily (around 70-80% at day 61). Enchytraeids generally did not show avoidance or preference to biochar when provided with an alternative unamended soil, while collembolans often showed avoidance responses. However, collembolan avoidance to biochar decreased or disappeared in biochar mixtures with higher microbial biomass and soluble NH4-N content, agreeing with the plausible role of microorganisms to potentially attract soil fauna after biochar applications. Avoidance response was mainly explained by environmental preferences of the test species and not by any toxic effect of the biochar in this study. However, avoidance after the application of biochar may still need to be considered due to the potential negative impacts of individuals' migration on soil ecosystem functioning. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Marks E.A.N., Molowny-Horas R., Domene X. (2015) Investigating the Use of Multi-Gaussian Nonlinear Regressions to Separate Collembolan Size Classes for Soil Quality Assessment. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. 226: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1007/s11270-015-2503-6
Previous studies with bioindicator organisms have used somatic length distributions, i.e., population structure, to understand the effects of management, environment, or a potential contaminant on populations. We describe a statistical approach to separate somatic length classes of Folsomia candida juveniles as an endpoint for the assessment of changes in population structure. Reproduction-survival bioassays were carried out with five different biochars applied at increasing concentrations. Multi-Gaussian models parameterized juvenile size class cohorts, and the biomass of each size class cohort was estimated. Population structure was modified by both material type as well as concentration. Both biomass and population structure were sensitive to effects not reflected in juvenile number, the classic endpoint. Treatments with more size classes and larger individuals were taken to represent favorable conditions, and less size classes and smaller individuals indicated less favorable conditions. This extension of the standardized test provided additional information about the demography of the population. © 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
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