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Mining activities causes heavy metal pollution and adversely affect the ecological safety and human well-being. Phytoremediation-biochar synergy can effectively remediate mine spoils contaminated with heavy metals (HM). A review which focuses exclusively on the application of biochar assisted phytoremediation in HM contaminated mine spoil is lacking. Mechanisms of metal immobilization by biochar, potential plants and contaminated biomass disposal methods has also been reviewed. Availability of biochar feedstock and production conditions, optimization of application rate, application techniques, selection of suitable hyperaccumulators and cost optimization of bulk biochar production are the key to a successful biochar-based HM remediation of mine tailings and coalmine spoil. Presently, herbs and shrubs are mostly used as phytoremediators, use of woody trees would encourage a long-term metal sequestration which would reduce the cost of biomass disposal. Also, use of non-edible plants would prevent the plants from entering the food chain. For a holistic biochar-phytoremediation technique, incineration and pyrolysis can effectively dispose contaminated biomass. From the economical viewpoint, the environment cost-benefit analysis should be considered before considering the feasibility of a technology.HighlightsMass scale in-situ biochar production and economics are keys issues.Biochar assisted phytoremediation for HM contaminated mine spoils.Long term studies using woody biomass needs attention.Disposal of contaminated biomass by pyrolysis method.


Dipita Ghosh, Subodh Kumar Maiti. Biochar assisted phytoremediation and biomass disposal in heavy metal contaminated mine soils: a review. International journal of phytoremediation. 2021;23(6):559-576

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PMID: 33174450

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