Newswise — Feb. 15, 2018 – What can be made with unwanted materials, looks like charcoal, and provides multiple benefits to soil health? Biochar! The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) February 15 Soils Matter blog explains what biochar is and how it helps improve—and even decontaminate--soil.

Biochar is plant debris or other materials that have been heated to high temperatures in a low- to no-oxygen environment. The result is a black, carbon-rich material similar to charcoal.

“Think of it like a charcoal sponge,” says Jim Ippolito, Colorado State University. “This large surface area can hold a lot of chemicals and toxic metals, making it quite valuable.”

The addition of biochar to problematic soil can have positive results:

  • It can be a nutrient source for helpful soil microbes.
  • It can improve soil texture and allow for better water filtration.
  • Biochar can trap other chemicals in the soil, such as pharmaceutical wastes.
  • It can also reduce metal toxicity, allowing more plants to grow in places such as reclaimed mining areas.

To read the entire blog post, visit…contaminate-soil/.

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The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.