Re: PAH Effects on Soil Life Forms; was: RE: [Biochar] Unfavorable research about biochar #pah

Claudia Kammann

Hi all,


the paper I sent (Hilber et al 2012) describes the method to desorb PAHs from biochar by 36 h toluol extractopn. If you order an EBC analysis with the certified lab Eurofins, this method will be used. One can either order the full EBC analysis or parts of it, i.e. also the PAH measurement. It’s about 80 € per sample, I think, or something in that range.


If someone needs it I can supply the contact.


cheers, Claudia


Von: <> Im Auftrag von Paul S Anderson
Gesendet: Montag, 8. Juni 2020 15:44
Cc: Anderson, Paul <psanders@...>
Betreff: [EXTERN] Re: PAH Effects on Soil Life Forms; was: RE: [Biochar] Unfavorable research about biochar




Thanks.   Very interesting.   Caution is needed, along with more understanding.   “PAH formation in biochars decreased with increasing production temperature (350-650 °C).”    


I did not read the other 5 cited articles.   Is someone on this Biochar discussion group going deeper into this topic, and to whom we can turn for guidance / leadership?


Last sentence in the abstract says  “…. biochars should be pretreated to remove PAHs before their large-scale agronomic application.”


What are the possible pretreatment types?   And how easy (or hard) is the measurement of PAH in chars?


Lots of questions.   Seeking answers.




Doc / Dr TLUD / Paul S. Anderson, PhD --- Website:

         Email:  psanders@...       Skype:   paultlud

         Phone:  Office: 309-452-7072    Mobile & WhatsApp: 309-531-4434

Exec. Dir. of Juntos Energy Solutions NFP    Go to: 

Inventor of RoCC kilns for biochar and energy:  See

Author of “A Capitalist Carol” (free digital copies at

         with pages 88 – 94 about solving the world crisis for clean cookstoves.


From: <> On Behalf Of Tony Vovers via
Sent: Sunday, June 7, 2020 11:13 PM
Subject: Re: PAH Effects on Soil Life Forms; was: RE: [Biochar] Unfavorable research about biochar


[This message came from an external source. If suspicious, report to abuse@...]

In case there is doubt about Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons effect here is a study showing that PAH in biochar amendment transferred into the food we eat.

I imagine there are others.

Tony Vovers


On Jun 7, 2020, at 22:05, Kevin Chisholm <kchisholm@...> wrote:

Hi Frank

It is good to see so much interest in determining if PAH’s (Polycyclic
Aromatic Hydrocarbons) are Good, Bad or Indifferent for various life-forms.
While PAH’s can be bad for people who smoke cigarettes (Lung Cancer), it
would be a real shame if over-active Legislators banned PAH’s from biochar,
without the benefit of such scientific evidence relating to the “soil

Best wishes,



From: [] On Behalf Of
Frank Strie
Sent: June 7, 2020 3:09 AM
Subject: Re: PAH Effects on Soil Life Forms; was: RE: [Biochar] Unfavorable
research about biochar

Student Participants
The participating students, coming from 16 countries, have already several
years experience in biochar science.
Please find following the description of their most prominent running
biochar project.

Aoife Brennan
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
I am based at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the
University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. My PhD research focuses on the role of
biochar in remediating multi-contaminated soils, particularly looking at the
use biochar to re-establish plant growth in degraded systems, whether
through enhancing phytostabilisation or supporting biomass crop growth. My
experiments monitor various plant health parameters such as chlorophyll,
biomass yields, plant enzyme activity and root growth parameters. Specific
contaminants of interest are the 16 EPA PAHs, arsenic, copper, manganese and
zinc. I am also interested in how biochar affects bioavailability of the
selected contaminants and as a result, how exposure pathways are affected by
biochar amendment, for example, leaching of contaminants to groundwater;
porewater concentrations; plant uptake and so on.

Frédéric Rees,
Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, Université de Lorraine/INRA, Nancy,
My research project aims to evaluate the actual influence of biochar on the
mobility of potentially toxic elements (e.g. heavy metals such as Cd, Pb,
Zn, Cu and Ni) in soil-plant systems, to identify the processes behind such
effects and to enable the long-term effects of biochar in contaminated
soils. This encompasses various experimental approaches such as batch
sorption experiments, soil column leaching, microscopic analyses of biochar,
and plant growth experiments in rhizoboxes, pots, lysimeters or field

Anna Wawra
Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Tulln, Austria
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
„Immobilisation of heavy metals in soil as blessing or curse for
hydrocarbon degradation“
As part of the ISOMON (Isotope Monitoring) project, this 3 year PhD- study
aims to identify the influence of in-situ heavy metal sanitation on
biological decomposition behaviour of organic pollutants, and to find
chemical, physical and biological measures in order to accelerate the
decomposition of these organic contaminants.
Microbial decomposition of organic pollutants will be measured via analysis
of the carbon isotopes (12C/13C) ratio using compound specific isotope
analysis (CSIA), while the influence of heavy metals on microbial
communities will be measured using 13C PLFA analysis. Biochar will be one of
the soil additives used as a heavy metal immobilizer in the greenhouse pot
experiment and field trial.

<< OLE Object: Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) >>
On the heterogenety of biochar and consequences for representative sampling
As biochar is extremely heterogeneous, to use an adapted technique of
sampling especially of industrial quantities of biochar is primordial.
Thomas Bucheli introduced at the European Biochar Summer School into
sampling theory and comes up with a highly performing sampling technique for
biochar. Rarely such a dry matter of study was presented more entertaining.

The above week long project / meeting happened in Sept 2013 at the Ithaka
Institute in the Swiss Alps – and I was in the room.
What a (rocket) booster of energy and information.
Cheers from Tassie

From: <> On Behalf Of Kevin
Sent: Sunday, June 7, 2020 1:10 PM
Subject: PAH Effects on Soil Life Forms; was: RE: [Biochar] Unfavorable
research about biochar

Hi Nando

I know nothing about PAH’s, but I am guessing that some are harmful, some
are neutral, and some may actually be beneficial to Humans.

Equally, I am guessing that some of the PAH’s associated with biochar may
be harmful to some “soil life forms”, neutral to other “soil life forms” and
beneficial to yet other “soil life forms”.

Do you know if there have any actual studies to determine which of the many
PAH’s have an effect on the various “soil life forms” and whether the
effects are harmful, neutral or beneficial?

Merely because PAH’s can be harmful to humans does not mean they cannot be
neutral or beneficial to soil life forms.

Best wishes,


From: [] On
Behalf Of Nando Breiter
Sent: June 6, 2020 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: [Biochar] Unfavorable research about biochar

Residual PAH on char is easily cleared using a light acid wash/quench. It
can also be avoided by keeping pyrolysis temps as low as possible.

CarbonZero Sagl
CP 15
6999 Astano

+41 (0)76 303 4477 cell
skype: ariamedia

On Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 3:18 PM ROBERT W GILLETT
<mailto:themarvalus.wabio@...> wrote:
I would hardly consider the linked article as "dissing" biochar. It is good
research by respected scientists done 7 years ago. Looking at the abstract,
I think the upshot is that you want to ensure that you don't have excessive
PAH in your product because it will most likely leach into the soil.


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