Impacts of biochar on physical properties and erosion potential of a mudstone slopeland soil.
ABSTRACT: Food demand and soil sustainability have become urgent issues recently because of the global climate changes. This study aims to evaluate the application of a biochar produced by rice hull, on changes of physiochemical characteristics and erosion potential of a degraded slopeland soil. Rice hull biochar pyrolized at 400°C was incorporated into the soil at rates of 2.5%, 5%, and 10% (w/w) and was incubated for 168 d in this study. The results indicated that biochar application reduced the Bd by 12% to 25% and the PR by 57% to 92% after incubation, compared with the control. Besides, porosity and aggregate size increased by 16% to 22% and by 0.59 to 0.94 mm, respectively. The results presented that available water contents significantly increased in the amended soils by 18% to 89% because of the obvious increase of micropores. The water conductivity of the biochar-amended soils was only found in 10% biochar treatment, which might result from significant increase of macropores and reduction of soil strength (Bd and PR). During a simulated rainfall event, soil loss contents significantly decreased by 35% to 90% in the biochar-amended soils. In conclusion, biochar application could availably raise soil quality and physical properties for tilth increasing in the degraded mudstone soil.
Project description:Abstract Large?scale soil application of biochar is one of the terrestrial carbon sequestration strategies for future climate change mitigation pathways, which can also help remove and sequester pollutants from contaminated soil and water. However, black carbon emissions from biochar?amended soils can deteriorate air quality and affect human health, as the biochar particles often contain a higher amount of sorbed toxic pollutants than the soil. Yet, the extent and mechanism of inhalable particulate matter (PM10) emission from biochar?amended soils at different wind regimes have not been evaluated. Using wind tunnel experiments to simulate different wind regimes, we quantified particulate emission from sand amended with 1–4% (by weight) biochar at two size fractions: with and without <2?mm biochar. At wind speeds below the threshold speed for soil erosion, biochar application significantly increased PM10 emission by up to 400% due to the direct resuspension of inhalable biochar particles. At wind speeds above the threshold speed, emission increased by up to 300% even from biochar without inhalable fractions due to collisions of fast?moving sand particles with large biochar particles. Using a theoretical framework, we show that particulate matter emissions from biochar?amended soils could be higher than that previously expected at wind speeds below the erosion threshold wind speed for background soil. Our results indicate that current models for fugitive dust emissions may underestimate the particulate matter emission potential of biochar?amended soils and will help improve the assessment of biochar emission from amended soils. Key Points The applied biochar can be transported out of the soil system even at low wind velocities, potentially along with adsorbed contaminants Current models for fugitive dust emissions may underestimate particulate matter emission potential of biochar?amended soils
Project description:The use of biochar can contribute to carbon (C) storage in soil. Upon addition of biochar, there is a spatial reorganization of C within soil particles, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we used Fourier transformed infrared-microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy to examine this reorganization. A silty-loam soil was amended with three different organic residues and with the biochar produced from these residues and incubated for 237 d. Soil respiration was lower in biochar-amended soils than in residue-amended soils. Fluorescence analysis of the dissolved organic matter revealed that biochar application increased a humic-like fluorescent component, likely associated with biochar-C in solution. The combined spectroscopy-microscopy approach revealed the accumulation of aromatic-C in discrete spots in the solid-phase of microaggregates and its co-localization with clay minerals for soil amended with raw residue or biochar.The co-localization of aromatic-C:polysaccharides-C was consistently reduced upon biochar application. We conclude that reduced C metabolism is an important mechanism for C stabilization in biochar-amended soils.
Project description:In Brazil, the degradation of nutrient-poor Ferralsols limits productivity and drives agricultural expansion into pristine areas. However, returning agricultural residues to the soil in a stabilized form may offer opportunities for maintaining or improving soil quality, even under conditions that typically promote carbon loss. We examined the use of biochar made from filtercake (a byproduct of sugarcane processing) on the physicochemical properties of a cultivated tropical soil. Filtercake was pyrolyzed at 575°C for 3 h yielding a biochar with increased surface area and porosity compared to the raw filtercake. Filtercake biochar was primarily composed of aromatic carbon, with some residual cellulose and hemicellulose. In a three-week laboratory incubation, CO2 effluxes from a highly weathered Ferralsol soil amended with 5% biochar (dry weight, d.w.) were roughly four-fold higher than the soil-only control, but 23-fold lower than CO2 effluxes from soil amended with 5% (d.w.) raw filtercake. We also applied vinasse, a carbon-rich liquid waste from bioethanol production typically utilized as a fertilizer on sugarcane soils, to filtercake- and biochar-amended soils. Total CO2 efflux from the biochar-amended soil in response to vinasse application was only 5% of the efflux when vinasse was applied to soil amended with raw filtercake. Furthermore, mixtures of 5 or 10% biochar (d.w.) in this highly weathered tropical soil significantly increased water retention within the plant-available range and also improved nutrient availability. Accordingly, application of sugarcane filtercake as biochar, with or without vinasse application, may better satisfy soil management objectives than filtercake applied to soils in its raw form, and may help to build soil carbon stocks in sugarcane-cultivating regions.
Project description:Novel carbon sequestration strategies such as large-scale land application of biochar may provide sustainable pathways to increase the terrestrial storage of carbon. Biochar has a long residence time in the soil and hence comprehensive studies are urgently needed to quantify the environmental impacts of large-scale biochar application. In particular, black carbon emissions from soils amended with biochar may counteract the negative emission potential due to the impacts on air quality, climate, and biogeochemical cycles. We investigated, using wind tunnel experiments, the particulate matter emission potential of a sand and two agriculturally important soils amended with different concentrations of biochar, in comparison to control soils. Our results indicate that biochar application considerably increases particulate emissions possibly by two mechanisms-the accelerated emission of fine biochar particles and the generation and emission of fine biochar particles resulting from abrasion of large biochar particles by sand grains. Our study highlights the importance of considering the background soil properties (e.g., texture) and geomorphological processes (e.g., aeolian transport) for biochar-based carbon sequestration programs.
Project description:Biochar, as a soil amendment in agriculture, has attracted considerable attention. In the study, the fate and toxicity of the herbicide fenoxaprop-ethyl were evaluated in soils with and without 5% rice husk biochar amendment. Fenoxaprop-ethyl and metabolite fenoxaprop degradation followed first-order kinetics in the two soils. Fenoxaprop-ethyl decreased fast with half-lives less than 2 days. Large amounts of fenoxaprop formed and remained in the control soil. However, fenoxaprop was much lower in the biochar-amended soil with reduction over 85% on the 35th day. The estimated half-lives of fenoxaprop were 56.9 and 1.5 days in the control and biochar-amended soils, respectively. Biochar restrained the formation and promoted the dissipation of fenoxaprop. Biological indicator earthworms (Eisenia fetida) were used in a 14-day acute toxicity test. Fenoxaprop-ethyl showed low toxicity to earthworms with LC50 value of 322.9?µg?g-1. Biochar amendment was non-toxic to earthworms and effectively reduced the toxicity. The results suggested that the application of biochar may reduce the risks of fenoxaprop-ethyl in the soil environment.
Project description:Negative plant-soil feedback (NPSF) frequently cause replant failure in agricultural ecosystems, which has been restricting the sustainable development of agriculture. Biochar application has appealing effects on soil improvement and potential capacity to affect NPSF, but the process is poorly understood. Here, our study demonstrated that biochar amendment can effectively alleviate the NPSF and this biochar effect is strongly linked to soil microorganism in a sanqi (Panax notoginseng) production system. High-throughput sequencing showed that the bacterial and fungal communities were altered with biochar amendment, and bacterial community is more sensitive to biochar amendment than the fungal community. Biochar amendment significantly increased the soil bacterial diversity, but the fungal diversity was not significantly different between biochar-amended and non-amended soils. Moreover, we found that biochar amendment significantly increased the soil pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter, available phosphorus, available potassium, and C/N ratio. The correlation analysis showed that these increased soil chemical variables have a significantly positive correlation with the bacterial diversity. Further analysis of the soil microbial composition demonstrated that biochar soil amendment enriched the beneficial bacterium Bacillus and Lysobacter but suppressed pathogens Fusarium and Ilyonectria. In addition, we verified that biochar had no direct effect on the pathogen Fusarium solani, but can directly enrich biocontrol bacterium Bacillus subtilis. In short, biochar application can mitigate NPSF is mostly due to the fact that biochar soil amendment modified the soil microbiome, especially inhibited pathogens by enriching beneficial bacterium with antagonistic activity against pathogen.
Project description:Slow release of nitrate by charred organic matter used as a soil amendment (i.e. biochar) was recently suggested as potential mechanism of nutrient delivery to plants which may explain some agronomic benefits of biochar. So far, isolated soil-aged and composted biochar particles were shown to release considerable amounts of nitrate only in extended (>1 h) extractions ("slow release"). In this study, we quantified nitrate and ammonium release by biochar-amended soil and compost during up to 167 h of repeated extractions in up to six consecutive steps to determine the effect of biochar on the overall mineral nitrogen retention. We used composts produced from mixed manures amended with three contrasting biochars prior to aerobic composting and a loamy soil that was amended with biochar three years prior to analysis and compared both to non-biochar amended controls. Composts were extracted with 2 M KCl at 22°C and 65°C, after sterilization, after treatment with H2O2, after removing biochar particles or without any modification. Soils were extracted with 2 M KCl at 22°C. Ammonium was continuously released during the extractions, independent of biochar amendment and is probably the result of abiotic ammonification. For the pure compost, nitrate extraction was complete after 1 h, while from biochar-amended composts, up to 30% of total nitrate extracted was only released during subsequent extraction steps. The loamy soil released 70% of its total nitrate amount in subsequent extractions, the biochar-amended soil 58%. However, biochar amendment doubled the amount of total extractable nitrate. Thus, biochar nitrate capture can be a relevant contribution to the overall nitrate retention in agroecosystems. Our results also indicate that the total nitrate amount in biochar amended soils and composts may frequently be underestimated. Furthermore, biochars could prevent nitrate loss from agroecosystems and may be developed into slow-release fertilizers to reduce global N fertilizer demands.
Project description:The soil surface albedo decreases with an increasing biochar application rate as a power decay function, but the net impact of biochar application on soil temperature dynamics remains to be clarified. The objective of this study was to assess the potential of infrared thermography (IRT) sensing by monitoring soil surface temperature (SST) with a high spatiotemporal and thermal resolution in a scalable agricultural application. We monitored soil surface temperature (SST) variations over a 48 h period for three treatments in a vineyard: bare soil (plot S), 100% biochar cover (plot B), and biochar-amended topsoil (plot SB). The SST of all plots was monitored at 30 min intervals with a tripod-mounted IR thermal camera. The soil temperature at 10 cm depth in the S and SB plots was monitored continuously with a 5 min resolution probe. Plot B had greater daily SST variations, reached a higher daily temperature peak relative to the other plots, and showed a faster rate of T increase during the day. However, on both days, the SST of plot B dipped below that of the control treatment (plot S) and biochar-amended soil (plot SB) from about 18:00 onward and throughout the night. The diurnal patterns/variations in the IRT-measured SSTs were closely related to those in the soil temperature at a 10 cm depth, confirming that biochar-amended soils showed lower thermal inertia than the unamended soil. The experiment provided interesting insights into SST variations at a local scale. The case study may be further developed using fully automated SST monitoring protocols at a larger scale for a range of environmental and agricultural applications.
Project description:Most deforested lands in Brazil are occupied by low-productivity cattle ranching. Brazil is the second biggest meat producer worldwide and is projected to increase its agricultural output more than any other country. Biochar has been shown to improve soil properties and agricultural productivity when added to degraded soils, but these effects are context-dependent. The impact of biochar, fertilizer and inoculant on the productivity of forage grasses in Brazil (Brachiaria spp. and Panicum spp.) was investigated from environmental and socio-economic perspectives. We showed a 27% average increase in Brachiaria production over two years but no significant effects of amendment on Panicum yield. Biochar addition also increased the contents of macronutrients, soil pH and CEC. Each hectare amended with biochar saved 91 tonnes of CO2eq through land sparing effect, 13 tonnes of CO2eq sequestered in the soil, equating to U$455 in carbon payments. The costs of biochar production for smallholder farmers, mostly because of labour cost, outweighed the potential benefits of its use. Biochar is 617% more expensive than common fertilizers. Biochar could improve productivity of degraded pasturelands in Brazil if investments in efficient biochar production techniques are used and biochar is subsidized by low emission incentive schemes.
Project description:Biochar amendment can alter soil properties, for instance, the ability to adsorb and degrade different chemicals. However, ageing of the biochar, due to processes occurring in the soil over time, can influence such biochar-mediated effects. This study examined how biochar affected adsorption and degradation of two herbicides, glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)-glycine) and diuron (3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea) in soil and how these effects were modulated by ageing of the biochar. One sandy and one clayey soil that had been freshly amended with a wood-based biochar (0, 1, 10, 20 and 30% w/w) were studied. An ageing experiment, in which the soil-biochar mixtures were aged for 3.5 months in the laboratory, was also performed. Adsorption and degradation were studied in these soil and soil-biochar mixtures, and compared to results from a soil historically enriched with charcoal. Biochar amendment increased the pH in both soils and increased the water-holding capacity of the sandy soil. Adsorption of diuron was enhanced by biochar amendment in both soils, while glyphosate adsorption was decreased in the sandy soil. Ageing of soil-biochar mixtures decreased adsorption of both herbicides in comparison with freshly biochar-amended soil. Herbicide degradation rates were not consistently affected by biochar amendment or ageing in any of the soils. However, glyphosate half-lives correlated with the Freundlich Kf values in the clayey soil, indicating that degradation was limited by availability there.