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Phosphorus transformations in plant-based and bio-waste materials induced by pyrolysis

Robinson, J. S., Baumann, K., Hu, Y., Hagemann, P., Kebelmann, L. and Leinweber, P. (2018) Phosphorus transformations in plant-based and bio-waste materials induced by pyrolysis. Ambio, 47 (Suppl.1). pp. 73-82. ISSN 0044-7447 (special issue 'Handling the phosphorus paradox in agriculture and natural ecosystems: scarcity, necessity, and burden of P)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s13280-017-0990-y


Strategies are needed to increase the sustainability of phosphorus (P) fertiliser management in agriculture. This paper reports on the potential of pyrolysis treatment to recycle P from renewable materials previously regarded as wastes. The study used K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy to examine chemical forms of P in the waste feedstock materials and corresponding biochars (pyrolysis at 480–500oC) of four ligno-cellulosic, plant-based residues and five relatively P-rich livestock and water-treatment byproducts, to acquire information on changes in potential P fertiliser value. Pyrolysis enriched P in the biochars by factors of 1.3–4.3, thus offering wide-ranging P fertiliser potential. XANES spectroscopy revealed hydroxyapatite (HAP) as one of the dominant chemical P compounds in the feedstocks, ranging from 14% (rice husks) to 98% (animal bone) of total P. For most materials, pyrolysis increased the proportion of HAP, and pyrophosphates were generated in several cases. These alterations possibly lead to diversity in the P solubility characteristics of the biochars if used as soil amendments; this is an important property of environmentally sound P fertilisers

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:74899
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biochar, bio-waste, fertiliser, phosphorus


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