Mitigating cadmium accumulation in greenhouse lettuce production using biochar

Ruilun Zheng, Guoxin Sun, Cui Li, Brian J. Reid, Zubin Xie, Bo Zhang, Qinghai Wang (Lead Author)

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Greenhouse experiments were conducted to investigate the influence of rice straw biochar (RSB) on soil cadmium (Cd) availability and accumulation in lettuce. The RSB was applied either in bands or broadcast in the test site of four greenhouses with soil Cd concentrations ranging from 1.70–3.14 μg g−1. Biochar doses applied in bands were half of those broadcast. The Cd levels in the shoots of lettuce were observed to be reduced by up to 57% with increasing RSB application rate (0, 6, 12, 18 t ha−1). Following RSB application, shoot Cd concentrations of lettuce were reduced to below the Chinese threshold value set for food, and hazard quotients for Cd associated with vegetable consumption were reduced from 0.70–1.11 to 0.42–0.65. A decrease in soil bulk density (11%) and increases in water holding capacity (16%), available phosphorus (30%), available potassium (197%), and lettuce yield (15%) were observed after RSB application. Multiple linear regression analysis suggested that the soil extractable Cd level (but not biomass dilution) and soil bulk density, as influenced by RSB addition, were the dominant contributors to the shoot Cd levels in lettuce and lettuce yield, respectively. These results highlight the potential for RSB to mitigate the phytoaccumulation of Cd and thereby to reduce human exposure from vegetable consumption. Application of biochar in band, rather than broadcasting over the entire area, represents an opportunity to halve the biochar cost while retaining a good remediation effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6532-6542
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number7
Early online date10 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Biochar
  • Cadmium
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Greenhouse
  • Hazard quotient

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