Facilitated Transport of Antibiotics by Biochar Under Rainfall Simulations

2019-10-17T19:29:33Z (GMT) by Andrea Jayne Funk
From an agronomic perspective, the spreading of manure (sometimes containing antibiotics) onto agricultural fields is beneficial to the soil as a renewable source of fertilizer by increasing organic matter and providing nutrient inputs for crops. However, the use of antibiotics can be excessive, resulting in manures containing residual antibiotics contaminating soils and waterways. Thus, there is a need to improve existing or develop new management practices to minimize the losses of antibiotics from manure entering waterways and groundwater. Biochar is a carbon-rich material produced from the oxygen-free pyrolysis of biomass. Generally, biochars have high surface area and sorb organic compounds and trace metals; thus, it is reasonable to hypothesize that biochars sorb antibiotics. The main goal of this research was to investigate if incorporated biochar to soil facilitates the transport of antibiotics under simulated rainstorm events. The specific objectives were to investigate the losses of surface-applied antibiotics to soils with different (1) application rates of biochar and rainfall intensities, and (2) if the losses were antibiotic type-dependent.