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Biochar nutrient availability rather than its water holding capacity governs the growth of both C3 and C4 plants

TitleBiochar nutrient availability rather than its water holding capacity governs the growth of both C3 and C4 plants
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWang, Yuzhe, Zhang Lianwei, Yang Hong, Yan Guijun, Xu Zhihong, Chen Chengrong, and Zhang Dongke
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Volume16
Pagination801 - 810
Date Published3/2016
ISSN1614-7480
Abstract
Purpose
Biochar has been suggested as a soil conditioner to improve soil fertility and crop productivity while simultaneously mitigate global climate change by storing carbon in the soil. This study investigated the effect of pine (Pinus radiata) biochar application on soil water availability, nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) pools and growth of C3 and C4 plants.
Materials and methods
In a glasshouse pot trial, a pine biochar (untreated) and nutrient-enriched pine biochar were applied to a market garden soil with C3 (Spinacia oleracea L.) and C4 (Amaranthus paniculatus L.) plants at rates of 0, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 % (w/w). Plant biomass, soil pH, moisture content, water holding capacity (WHC), hot water extractable organic C (HWEOC), and total N (HWETN), total C and N, and their isotope compositions (δ 13C and δ 15N) of soils and plants were measured at the end of the experimentation.
Results and discussion
The soil moisture content increased while plant biomass decreased with increasing untreated biochar application rates. The addition of nutrient-enriched biochar significantly improved plant biomass in comparison to the untreated biochar addition at most application rates. Biochar application also increased the levels of labile organic C and N pools as indicated by HWEOC and HWETN.
Conclusions
The results suggested that the addition of pine biochar significantly improved soil water availability but not plant growth. The application of nutrient-enriched pine biochar demonstrated that the growth of C3 and C4 plants was governed by biochar nutrient availability rather than its water holding capacity under the pot trial condition.
URLhttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11368-016-1357-x
DOI10.1007/s11368-016-1357-x
Short TitleJ Soils Sediments