Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #294572

Title: Carbon mineralization in two ultisols: effects of sources and particle sizes of Pyrolyzed Biochar

item Sigua, Gilbert
item Novak, Jeffrey
item Watts, Donald - Don
item Cantrell, Keri
item Shumaker, Paul
item Szogi, Ariel
item JOHNSON, M - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/10/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Biochar produced during pyrolysis has the potential to enhance soil fertility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The influence of biochar properties (e.g. particle size) on both short- and long-term carbon (C) mineralization of biochar remains unclear. There is minimal information on the potential effects of biochar particle sizes on their breakdowns by soil microorganism, so it is unknown if the particle size of biochar influences C mineralization rate and/or stability in soils. In order to evaluate the effect of different sources and particle sizes of biochar on C loss and/or stability in soils, an incubation study on C mineralization of different biochar sources and particle sizes was established using two soils: Norfolk soil (fine loamy, kaolinitic, thermic, typic Kandiudult) and Coxville soil (fine loamy kaolinitic, thermic, Paleaquult). In separate incubation vessels, these soils were amended with one of two manure-based biochars (poultry litters (PL); swine solids (SS)) or one of two lignocellulosic-based biochars (switchgrass (SG); pine chips (PC)) which were processed into two particle sizes (dust, <0.2 millimeter (mm); pellet, >2 mm). The amount of Carbon dioxide (C02) evolved varied significantly between soils; particle sizes and the interactions of biochar source and forms of biochars with soil types. Averaged across soils and sources of biochar, CO2 evolved from dust-sized biochar (281.3 milligram/kilogram)(mg/kg) was significantly higher than pellet-sized biochar (226.2 mg/kg). Coxville soils with SS biochar produced the greatest average CO2 of 427.5 mg/kg and Norfolk soils with PC had the lowest CO2 production (93 mg/kg). Measured rates of carbon mineralization also varied with soils and sources of biochar (Norfolk: PL>SS>SG=PC; Coxville: PC>SG>SS>PL). The average net CO2 evolved from the Coxville soils (385.2 mg/ kg) was about three-fold more than the CO2 evolved from the Norfolk soils (123.4 mg/kg). Our results suggest different particle sizes and sources of biochar as well as soil type can influence biochar stability.