Cd and As are difficult to co-remediate in co-contaminated soils. In this study, remediation materials comprising large-grained and nano-sized biochar (BC), ferrihydrite (FH), and complexes thereof were added to Cd- and As-contaminated soil. The uptake of Cd and As by pak choi (Brassica chinensis L.) was then evaluated using a pot experiment and the Cd and As concentrations of the soil pore water and leaching water were measured. The Cd and As concentrations of the pore and leaching water were slightly increased with the addition of BC, and decreased with addition of FH and the biochar–ferrihydrite complex (BC-FH). However, nano-sized BC (BCN), FH (FHN), and BC-FH (BC–FHN) had little influence on the decreases in Cd and As of the two monitored water types. Large-grained remediation materials, rather than nanomaterials, decreased the Cd and As concentrations of the two monitored water types. Nonetheless, nanomaterial treatments more effectively decreased the Cd and As concentrations in plants by an average of >10% relative to the large-grained treatments. The DLVO theory analysis suggested that BCN, FHN, and BC-FHN, immobilized in the topsoil, adsorbed heavy metals in the rhizosphere soil. The remainder of the nano-sized materials was dispersed in the rhizosphere soil pores, shielding the uptake of Cd and As by the roots. Although the doses of nanomaterials used in this study were less than one-fortieth of those of the large-grained materials, changes in the plant rhizosphere microenvironment caused by the nanomaterials decreased the risk of toxicity transfer from the soil to the plants.
- Pak choi