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Soil health, crop productivity, microbial transport, and mine spoil response to biochars

Novak, J.M. and Ippolito, J.A. and Lentz, R.D. and Spokas, K.A. and Bolster, C.H. and Sistani, K.R. and Trippe, K.M. and Phillips, C.L. and Johnson, M.G. (2016) Soil health, crop productivity, microbial transport, and mine spoil response to biochars. BioEnergy Research. 9:454-464. 10 March 2016. Available: http://doi 10.1007/s1215-016-9720-8

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Biochar is being evaluated by scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for its potential to sequester soil C, to improve soil health, and to increase crop yields. ARS scientists from multiple locations such as Florence, SC, Kimberly, ID, Bowling Green, KY, Corvallis, OR, and St. Paul, MN, are conducting investigations with agronomic experiments at the laboratory, greenhouse, and field plot scales. To further expand biochars utility, ARS scientists have collaborated with United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) investigators to reclaim mine-impacted soils. In the agronomic investigations, both positive and negative aspects of biochar application were revealed. In some experiments, biochars were reported to have no effect on crop yields, and minimal impact on movement of microbial pathogens through soil. In other experiments, biochars were reported to improve soil fertility, increase water retention, and bind with heavy metals in solutions and in mine spoil soils. This variation in biochars influence, substantiates and encourages further work on the designer biochar concept, which states that the biochars can be crafted for targeted agronomic and environmental purposes. There is a need to broadcast the successes and failures of biochar research reported by scientists from both agencies. Consequently, the objectives of this review are: to report on biochar effectiveness as a soil amendment; to ascertain its ability to modify soil properties, to evaluate its impact on soil leaching of microbes; and its potential capacity to help reclaim mine spoil sites.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1578
Subjects: Soil > Fertility
Soil > Soil quality
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 16 May 2016 21:42
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2016 14:57
Item ID: 1621