The impact of woody biochar on microbial processes in conventionally and organically managed arable soils

Cordovil, Cláudia M.d.S.; Pinto, Renata; Silva, Beatriz; Sas-Paszt, Lidia; Sakrabani, Ruben; Skiba, Ute M. ORCID: 2019 The impact of woody biochar on microbial processes in conventionally and organically managed arable soils. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 50 (12). 1387-1402.

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Although environmental impacts of biochar are well characterized, impacts on soil quality, nutrient availability and crop productivity, still remain a challenge due to the diverse response of different soil types to different types of biochar, namely those obtained at low temperature. The impact of an alkaline woody biochar (two doses 5% and 10%) obtained at 280°C, on soil enzyme activity, soil microbial respiration rate, mineral nitrogen (N) availability and ammonia volatilization was studied in one conventionally and one organically managed soils, with and without the addition of urea or composted farmyard manure. Biochar additions had different effects on soil enzyme activity in both soils, suggesting lower decomposing microbial activity processes promoted by biochar. Both soils showed a similar decreasing trend regarding soil respiration rates for all treatments, and significant relationships were observed between the treatments with different rates of applied biochar, but not constant for the entire incubation period. Urea application increased soil mineral N concentrations, especially nitrate concentrations when biochar was applied as well. Biochar decreased ammonia volatilization from conventionally managed soil fertilized with urea, but did not have a significant effect when compost was added to the organically managed soil. Biochar altered microbial behavior in soil, and was affected by previous soil management. So, the impact of biochar produced at low temperatures on soil biological processes is similar to those obtained at high temperature, thus proving that there is no need to increase the energy expenditure to produce biochar, to obtain a good product.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0010-3624
Additional Keywords: ammonia volatilization, enzyme activity, low temperature biochar, mineral nitrogen, soil respiration
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 22 Jul 2019 11:12 +0 (UTC)

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