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Hardwood biochar influences calcareous soil physicochemical and microbiological status

Ippolito, J.A. and Stromberger, M.E. and Lentz, R.D. and Dungan, R.S. (2014) Hardwood biochar influences calcareous soil physicochemical and microbiological status. Journal of Environmental Quality. 43(2):681-689.

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Abstract

The effects of biochar application to calcareous soils are not well documented. In a laboratory incubation study, a hardwood-based, fast pyrolysis biochar was applied (0, 1, 2, and 10% by weight) to a calcareous soil. Changes in soil chemistry, water content, microbial respiration, and microbial community structure were monitored over a 12-month period. Increasing biochar application rate increased the water holding capacity of the soil-biochar blend, a trait that could be beneficial under water limited situations. Biochar application also caused an increase in plant-available iron and manganese, soil carbon content, soil respiration rates, bacterial populations, and a decrease in soil nitrate-nitrogen concentration. Biochar rates of 2 and 10% altered the relative proportions of bacterial and fungal fatty acids, and shifted the microbial community towards greater relative amounts of bacteria and less fungi. The ratio of fatty acid 19:0 cy to its precursor, 18:1'7c, was higher in 10% biochar rate soil than all other soils, potentially indicating an environmental stress response. The 10% application rate of this particular biochar was extreme, causing the greatest change in microbial community structure, a physiological response to stress in Gram-negative bacteria, and a drastic reduction in soil nitate-nitrogen (85-97% reduction compared to the control), all of which were sustained over time.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1490
Subjects: Soil > Calcareous soil
Soil > Chemistry > Nitrogen
Water > Water quality > Nutrients
Depositing User: Michelle Wayment
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2014 17:00
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2014 17:01
Item ID: 1532
URI: https://eprints.nwisrl.ars.usda.gov/id/eprint/1532

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