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The electron donating capacity of biochar is dramatically underestimated

Antonin Prévoteau (UGent) , Frederik Ronsse (UGent) , Inés Cid Farina (UGent) , Pascal Boeckx (UGent) and Korneel Rabaey (UGent)
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Abstract
Biochars have gathered considerable interest for agronomic and engineering applications. In addition to their high sorption ability, biochars have been shown to accept or donate considerable amounts of electrons to/from their environment via abiotic or microbial processes. Here, we measured the electron accepting (EAC) and electron donating (EDC) capacities of wood-based biochars pyrolyzed at three different highest treatment temperatures (HTTs: 400, 500, 600 °C) via hydrodynamic electrochemical techniques using a rotating disc electrode. EACs and EDCs varied with HTT in accordance with a previous report with a maximal EAC at 500 °C (0.4 mmol(e−).gchar−1) and a large decrease of EDC with HTT. However, while we monitored similar EAC values than in the preceding study, we show that the EDCs have been underestimated by at least 1 order of magnitude, up to 7 mmol(e−).gchar−1 for a HTT of 400 °C. We attribute this existing underestimation to unnoticed slow kinetics of electron transfer from biochars to the dissolved redox mediators used in the monitoring. The EDC of other soil organic constituents such as humic substances may also have been underestimated. These results imply that the redox properties of biochars may have a much bigger impact on soil biogeochemical processes than previously conjectured.
Keywords
ELECTROCHEMICAL ANALYSIS, BLACK CARBON BIOCHAR, REDOX PROPERTIES, ORGANIC-MATTER, SLOW PYROLYSIS, N2O EMISSIONS, SOIL, SURFACE, LACCASE, PHENOLS

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Chicago
Prévoteau, Antonin, Frederik Ronsse, Inés Cid Farina, Pascal Boeckx, and Korneel Rabaey. 2016. “The Electron Donating Capacity of Biochar Is Dramatically Underestimated.” Scientific Reports 6.
APA
Prévoteau, A., Ronsse, F., Cid Farina, I., Boeckx, P., & Rabaey, K. (2016). The electron donating capacity of biochar is dramatically underestimated. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6.
Vancouver
1.
Prévoteau A, Ronsse F, Cid Farina I, Boeckx P, Rabaey K. The electron donating capacity of biochar is dramatically underestimated. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. 2016;6.
MLA
Prévoteau, Antonin, Frederik Ronsse, Inés Cid Farina, et al. “The Electron Donating Capacity of Biochar Is Dramatically Underestimated.” SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 6 (2016): n. pag. Print.
@article{8102691,
  abstract     = {Biochars have gathered considerable interest for agronomic and engineering applications. In addition to their high sorption ability, biochars have been shown to accept or donate considerable amounts of electrons to/from their environment via abiotic or microbial processes. Here, we measured the electron accepting (EAC) and electron donating (EDC) capacities of wood-based biochars pyrolyzed at three different highest treatment temperatures (HTTs: 400, 500, 600\,{\textdegree}C) via hydrodynamic electrochemical techniques using a rotating disc electrode. EACs and EDCs varied with HTT in accordance with a previous report with a maximal EAC at 500\,{\textdegree}C (0.4\,mmol(e\ensuremath{-}).gchar\ensuremath{-}1) and a large decrease of EDC with HTT. However, while we monitored similar EAC values than in the preceding study, we show that the EDCs have been underestimated by at least 1 order of magnitude, up to 7\,mmol(e\ensuremath{-}).gchar\ensuremath{-}1 for a HTT of 400\,{\textdegree}C. We attribute this existing underestimation to unnoticed slow kinetics of electron transfer from biochars to the dissolved redox mediators used in the monitoring. The EDC of other soil organic constituents such as humic substances may also have been underestimated. These results imply that the redox properties of biochars may have a much bigger impact on soil biogeochemical processes than previously conjectured.},
  articleno    = {32870},
  author       = {Pr{\'e}voteau, Antonin and Ronsse, Frederik and Cid Farina, In{\'e}s and Boeckx, Pascal and Rabaey, Korneel},
  issn         = {2045-2322},
  journal      = {SCIENTIFIC REPORTS},
  keyword      = {ELECTROCHEMICAL ANALYSIS,BLACK CARBON BIOCHAR,REDOX PROPERTIES,ORGANIC-MATTER,SLOW PYROLYSIS,N2O EMISSIONS,SOIL,SURFACE,LACCASE,PHENOLS},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {11},
  title        = {The electron donating capacity of biochar is dramatically underestimated},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep32870},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2016},
}

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