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Application of Two Bioenergy Byproducts with Contrasting Carbon Availability to a Prairie Soil: Three-Year Crop Response and Changes in Soil Biological and Chemical Properties

TitleApplication of Two Bioenergy Byproducts with Contrasting Carbon Availability to a Prairie Soil: Three-Year Crop Response and Changes in Soil Biological and Chemical Properties
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsAlotaibi, Khaled, and Schoenau Jeff
JournalAgronomy
Volume6
Pagination13
Date Published3/2016
Abstract

The bioenergy industry produces a wide range of byproducts varying in their chemical composition depending on type of technology employed. In particular, pyrolysis and transesterification conversion processes generate C-rich byproducts of biochar (BC) and glycerol (GL), respectively, which can be added to soil. These two byproducts vary in their carbon availability, and comparing their effects when added to agricultural soil deserves attention. This study investigated the immediate and residual effects of a single application of BC and GL to a cultivated Brown Chernozem soil from the semi-arid region of southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. In the first season following addition of amendments, BC and GL alone had no significant impact on all measured parameters. However, when combined with 50 kg urea N·ha−1 (BC + UR), the yields obtained were similar to those with 100 kg urea N·ha−1 alone. The GL with urea N (GL + UR) treatment had reduced crop yield and N uptake compared to urea alone in the year of application attributed to N immobilization, but had a positive residual effect in the second year due to remineralization. Both GL and GL + UR treatments enhanced dehydrogenase activity compared to other treatments whereas BC + UR tended to decrease microbial biomass C. The crop and soil response to application of biochar was less than observed in previous studies conducted elsewhere. Direct and residual effects of glycerol addition on the crop were more evident. An application rate greater than 2.8 t·ha−1 and 3.5 t·ha−1 for BC and GL, respectively, may be required to induce larger responses.

URLhttp://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/6/1/13
DOI10.3390/agronomy6010013
Short TitleAgronomy