CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environment, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230026, China; State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710075, China. Electronic address: [Email]
In the paper, hydrothermally (HT) treated, sulfuric acid (H2SO4), and hydrochloric acid (HCl) washed fly ashes (FA) were used to examine the applied effects with and without biochar (BC) on the bioavailability of heavy metals (HMs) and growth of maize (Zea mays L.) plants in coal-mining contaminated soil. Addition of BC in combination with these processed fly ashes (PFA) significantly increased the soil pH, EC, and soil organic carbon (SOC). Individual application of BC and PFA increased the available contents of Mg, Mn, and Fe, while the combination of BC and PFA significantly decreased the bioavailability of HMs in soil compared to control. The BC + HT-FA and BC + H2SO4-FA were most efficient treatments followed by BC + HCl-FA in promoting plant growth parameters (i.e., fresh and dry biomass, root and shoot lengths), reduction in the uptake of HMs and increase in the uptake of macronutrients. The results established that the combined application of BC and PFA synergistically increased HMs immobilization and maize biomass yields. The lowest transfer rate (TR), bioconcentration factor (BCF), and translocation factor (TF) for Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb were detected in BC + HT-FA, followed by BC + H2SO4-FA and BC + HCl-FA treatments after 60 days of maize crop harvesting. It could be suggested that using BC along with PFA as a soil stabilizer may be a promising source to immobilize HMs in a coal-mining contaminated soil.