University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) - Research portal

Logo BOKU Resarch Portal

Selected Publication:

Sigmund, G; Huber, D; Bucheli, TD; Baumann, M; Borth, N; Guebitz, GM; Hofmann, T.
(2017): Cytotoxicity of Biochar: A Workplace Safety Concern?
ENVIRON SCI TECH LET. 2017; 4(9): 362-366. FullText FullText_BOKU

Biochar has a number of environmental applications, including soil amendment for agriculture, remediation of contaminated soils and sediments, and climate change mitigation. Dust formed during its production and field application may pose a health risk, but the cytotoxicity of biochar has, to the best of our knowledge, not previously been investigated. Therefore, we measured the concentration-dependent cytotoxicity of biochar on an NIH 3T3 mouse fibroblast cell line. We used a contaminant trap experiment to measure the total and nondesorbable polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) fractions of the biochar. PAH release was found to be negligible because of the biochars strong PAH sorption potential. The biochar was nevertheless observed to have a cytotoxic effect on the fibroblast cells; the EC10 values were 49.6 and 18.8 mu g/mL after incubation for 24 and 48 h, respectively. This cytotoxic effect is likely to relate to the particulate nature and size distribution of the biochar; the biochar had particles similar in size to atmospheric particulate matter (PM2.5) that bound to the fibroblast cell surface. To minimize the risk of exposure, practitioners should wear respiratory protective equipment during biochar production. During field application, biochar should be applied in slurries and should always be mixed with a soil matrix to avoid secondary dust formation.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Baumann Martina
Borth Nicole
G├╝bitz Georg
Huber Daniela
BOKU Gendermonitor:

© BOKU Wien Imprint