Azimsulfuron is an acidic herbicide with a high water solubility which makes risk of groundwater contamination a concern. Various wood based biochars produced at different pyrolysis temperatures were characterized along with their sorption capacity for the herbicide azimsulfuron. In addition, we compared sorption on biochars with sorption on mineral sorbents such as clay minerals and iron oxides. In biochar formed at high temperatures (500 °C and 700 °C), FT-IR studies confirmed the increase in aromaticity. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the biochars showed differences in the macroporous structure and lower size pores at higher temperatures. SSA (Specific Surface Area) of the biochars increased with pyrolysis temperature and, for all different biochars, this resulted in higher sorption of azimsulfuron. In the case of mineral sorbents, sorption is not related to SSA. Higher sorption is observed in a montmorillonite, of lower SSA, than in mixture of clay minerals with 30% smectite (w/w). On the contrary as with the clays, sorption on the two iron oxyhydroxides increased with SSA. Desorption studies showed hysteresis. Leaching studies showed no effect on azimsulfuron retention on soil column amended with apple wood biochar, while a reduction of azimsulfuron in leachates in soil columns amended with the modified montmorillonite and alder wood biochar (500 °C). Total retention was shown for alder wood biochar.
Trigo, C., Cox, L., & Spokas, K. (2016). Influence of pyrolysis temperature and hardwood species on resulting biochar properties and their effect on azimsulfuron sorption as compared to other sorbents. Science of the Total Environment, 566–567, 1454–1464. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.027