Given the large amount of Graphene produced in the last years, there is the need to introduce this new material into a green and circular economy loop. In this study, for the first time, the fate of nutrients and heavy metals in a sandy Calcisol amended with Graphene was monitored and compared to other traditional improvers such as Compost, Zeo-lites, and Biochar. This was performed via saturated and unsaturated columns' experiments with two different fertili-zation regimes: one with NPK fertilizer and one with an innovative fertigation water (FW) produced from a pilot wastewater treatment plant. The breakthrough curves of each nutrient and heavy metal were analysed to understand the main processes occurring in saturated and unsaturated conditions, comparing the columns amended with the im-provers versus the unamended Controls. Mass balances for each nutrient and heavy metal were developed to infer whether the different soil improvers were effective in minimizing leaching. Graphene, for most cases, behaved as the Control in nutrients' leaching for all the saturated and unsaturated experiments, both with NPK and FW. Biochar increased EC, K+, and pH of the leaching water, which could be an issue for the growth of some plants. Compost in-creased NO3- leaching in all the experiments. Zeolites showed the best N compounds retention, but great PO4 3- leaching in saturated conditions. Heavy metals leachates were analysed only for unsaturated columns (as more repre-sentative of field conditions) and found at concentrations well below the limits suggested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Overall, Graphene performed well in minimizing nutrients and heavy metals leaching, respect to classical improvers. This study is a starting point for field studies that will be critical to have a clear understanding of how Graphene behaves in the environment.
Performance of graphene and traditional soil improvers in limiting nutrients and heavy metals leaching from a sandy Calcisol / Alessandrino, Luigi; Colombani, Nicolò; Aschonitis, Vassilis; Eusebi, Anna Laura; Mastrocicco, Micòl. - In: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0048-9697. - ELETTRONICO. - 858:Pt 1(2023), p. 159806. [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.159806]