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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374196

Research Project: Develop Water Management Strategies to Sustain Water Productivity and Protect Water Quality in Irrigated Agriculture

Location: Water Management Research

Title: Biochar and compost effects on soil microbial communities and nitrogen induced respiration in turfgrass soils

item AZEEM, MUHAMMAD - Northwest Agricultural & Forestry University
item Hale, Lauren
item MONTGOMERY, JON - University Of California
item CROWLEY, DAVID - University Of California
item MCGIFFEN, MILT - University Of California

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2020
Publication Date: 11/30/2020
Citation: Azeem, M., Hale, L.E., Montgomery, J., Crowley, D., McGiffen, M. 2020. Biochar and compost effects on soil microbial communities and nitrogen induced respiration in turfgrass soils. PLoS ONE. 15(11). Article e0242209.

Interpretive Summary: Biochar and compost amendments and their underlying effects on soil microbial communities were evaluated in turfgrass soils to evaluate their benefits for improved, eco-friendly management. Microbial community biomass, composition, and activities revealed a stark impact of compost, but not biochar on soil biological properties.

Technical Abstract: We examined the effect of compost and biochar on soil microbial community structure, diversity, and activity during turf grass establishment. Two application rates of biochar (B1 at 12.5 t ha-1 and B2 at 25 t ha-1), a 5 centimeter (cm) green waste compost treatment (CM) in top soil, a treatment with 12.5 t ha-1 biochar and 5 cm compost (B1+CM), and an unamended control (CK) treatment were prepared and seeded with tall fescue. Overall, results of phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA) profiling and Illumina high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes amplified from soil DNA revealed significant shifts in microbial community structures in the compost amended soils whereas in biochar amended soils communities were more similar to the control, unamended soil. Similarly, increases in enzymatic rates (6-56%) and nitrogen-induced respiration (94%) were all largest in compost amended soils, with biochar amended soils exhibiting similar patterns to the control soils. Both biochar and compost amendments impacted microbial community structures and functions, but compost amendment, whether applied alone or co-applied with biochar, exhibited the strongest shifts in the microbial community metrics examined.