Towards the standardization of biochar analysis: the COST Action 1 TD1107 inter2 laboratory comparison

Hans Jörg Bachmann, Thomas D. Bucheli, Alba Dieguez-Alonso Dieguez-Alonso, Daniele Fabbri, Heike Knicker, Hans-Peter Schmidt, Axel Ulbricht, Roland Becker, Alessandro Buscaroli, Diane Buerge, Andrew Cross, D Dickinson, Akio Enders, Valdemar I. Esteves, Michael W. H. Evangelou, Guido Fellet, K. Friedrich, Gabriel Gasco Guerrero, Bruno Glaser, Ulrich M. HankeKelly Hanley, Isabel Hilber, Dimitrios Kalderis, Jens Leifeld, Ondrej Masek, Jan Mumme, Marina Paneque Carmona, Roberto Calvelo Pereira, Frederic Rees, Alessandro G. Rombola, Jose Maria de la Rosa, Ruben Sakrabani, Saran Sohi, Gerhard Soja, Massimo Valagussa, Frank Verheijen, Franz Zehetner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biochar produced by pyrolysis of organic residues is increasingly used for soil amendment and many other applications. However, analytical methods for its physical and chemical characterization are yet far from being specifically adapted, optimized and standardized. Therefore, the COST Action TD1107 conducted an inter-laboratory comparison, in which 22 laboratories from twelve countries analyzed three different types of biochar for 38 physical-chemical parameters (macro- and micro-elements, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pH, electrical conductivity, and specific surface area) with their preferential methods. The data was evaluated in detail using professional inter-laboratory testing software. Whereas intra-laboratory repeatability was generally good or at least acceptable, inter-laboratory reproducibility was mostly not (20% < mean reproducibility standard deviation < 460%). This paper contributes to better comparability of biochar data published already, and provides recommendations to improve and harmonize specific methods for biochar analysis in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513–527
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number2
Early online date22 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2016


  • biochar analysis
  • biochar certification
  • round robin test
  • inter-laboratory test
  • charcoal
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • heavy metals


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