Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2008
Publication Date: 10/5/2008
Citation: Novak, J.M., Busscher, W.J., Watts, D.W., Laird, D.A., Niandou, M., Ahmedna, M. 2008. Influence of pecan-derived biochar on chemical properties of a Norfolk loamy sand soil [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting, November 5-9, Houston, Texas. 2008 CDROM
Technical Abstract: Sandy, Coastal Plain soils in the Southeastern USA are low (0.3 to 2%) in soil organic carbon contents (SOC) due to high soil temperatures, abundant rainfall, and a low physico-chemical protection of organic substances. Consequently, the soils have poor soil fertility characteristics. A strategy to enhance SOC content is to add a carbon-rich soil amendment like biochar that is fairly resistant to decomposition and can be physico-chemically protected by sorption to the soil matrix. Pecan-derived biochar was created by oxidizing ground pecan shells to 700°C. Elemental and 13C NMR analyses revealed that the biochar had 88% OC, 0.4% N (C:N ration 220:1) and that 69% of the C was distributed in polymerized aromatic ring structures. Incubation of a Norfolk loamy sand soil with 0, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0% biochar (w/w) for 60 days at 10% moisture resulted in a SOC, pH, Ca, K, and cation exchange capacity increase. Although FT-IR analyses revealed that structural alteration had occurred, the cumulative CO2 values were similar to or lower that the control implying minimal oxidative losses of biochar. A SEM/EDX scan of a biochar treated soil revealed a close association between biochar and sand grain surfaces. Our results show that some soil fertility characteristics were improved by adding biochar and that the biochar was a stable source of C.