Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Original research article
08 Jul 2022
Original research article |  | 08 Jul 2022

Identification of thermal signature and quantification of charcoal in soil using differential scanning calorimetry and benzene polycarboxylic acid (BPCA) markers

Brieuc Hardy, Nils Borchard, and Jens Leifeld

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Cited articles

Antal, M. J. and Grønli, M.: The Art, Science, and Technology of Charcoal Production, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 42, 1619–1640,, 2003. 
Ascough, P. L., Bird, M. I., Francis, S. M., Thornton, B., Midwood, A. J., Scott, A. C., and Apperley, D.: Variability in oxidative degradation of charcoal: Influence of production conditions and environmental exposure, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 75, 2361–2378,, 2011. 
Bird, M. I., Wynn, J. G., Saiz, G., Wurster, C. M., and McBeath, A.: The Pyrogenic Carbon Cycle, Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 43, 273–298,, 2015. 
Borchard, N., Ladd, B., Eschemann, S., Hegenberg, D., Möseler, B. M., and Amelung, W.: Black carbon and soil properties at historical charcoal production sites in Germany, Geoderma, 232, 236–242,, 2014. 
Brodowski, S., Rodionov, A., Haumaier, L., Glaser, B., and Amelung, W.: Revised black carbon assessment using benzene polycarboxylic acids, Org. Geochem., 36, 1299–1310, 2005. 
Short summary
Soil amendment with artificial black carbon (BC; biomass transformed by incomplete combustion) has the potential to mitigate climate change. Nevertheless, the accurate quantification of BC in soil remains a critical issue. Here, we successfully used dynamic thermal analysis (DTA) to quantify centennial BC in soil. We demonstrate that DTA is largely under-exploited despite providing rapid and low-cost quantitative information over the range of soil organic matter.