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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #225300

Title: Impact of Soil Biochar Applications on Nutrient Leaching

item Laird, David
item Fleming, Pierce
item Wang, Baiqun
item Horton, Robert
item Karlen, Douglas - Doug

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/5/2008
Publication Date: 10/5/2008
Citation: Laird, D.A., Fleming, P.D., Wang, B., Horton, R., Karlen, D.L. 2008. Impact of Soil Biochar Applications on Nutrient Leaching [CD-ROM]. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts, Oct. 5-9, 2008, Houston, TX.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil applications of biochar, a co-product of lignocellulosic bioenergy production using the pyrolysis platform, has been proposed as a potential means of sequestering carbon, improving soil quality and of returning plant nutrients removed from soils by the harvesting of biomass crops. We used soil columns to investigate the impact of biochar applications and biochar interactions with swine manure on the leaching of NO3, total P, K, and various trace nutrients during a one-year study. A total of 48 columns were repacked with 1 kg of Clarion loam, amended with four levels of biochar (0, 5, 10 and 20 g-biochar/kg-soil) and two levels of dried swine manure (0 or 5 g dry manure/kg-soil). The manure was incorporated in the top 3 cm during week 12 of the experiment. The columns were leached weekly with 200 mL of 0.005 M CaCl2. Among controls receiving no manure, significantly higher amounts of NO3 leached from columns amended with 20 g kg-1 biochar relative to columns containing 0, 5, or 10 g kg-1 biochar. This suggests that biochar enhanced mineralization of soil organic matter. Among columns receiving manure additions, by contrast, 7 to 10% more NO3 leached from the 0 g kg-1 biochar columns than the 5, 10, or 20 g kg-1 biochar columns. A possible explanation for the observed interaction between biochar treatments and manure additions is that readily mineralizable N-containing organic compounds from the manure were adsorbed and stabilized by the biochar.