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Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16756-16770; doi:10.3390/su71215842

Biochar Application in Malaysian Sandy and Acid Sulfate Soils: Soil Amelioration Effects and Improved Crop Production over Two Cropping Seasons

1
Crop and Soil Science Research Center, Malaysia Agriculture Research and Development Institute Malaysia (MARDI), Jalan Persiaran MARDI-UPM, 43000 Selangor, Malaysia
2
Department of Environmental Engineering, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), P.O. Box 3930 Ullevål Stadion, N-0806 Oslo, Norway
3
Institute for Plant and Environmental Sciences (NMBU), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 5003 Ås, Norway
4
Department of Applied Environmental Sciences (ITM), Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
5
Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Institute of Chemical and Bioengineering Technology (UNIKL-MICET), 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Zhiyong Jason Ren
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 11 December 2015 / Accepted: 15 December 2015 / Published: 18 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biochar)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [934 KB, uploaded 18 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

The use of biochar as an agricultural soil improvement was tested in acid sulfate and sandy soils from Malaysia, cropped with rice and corn. Malaysia has an abundance of waste rice husks that could be used to produce biochar. Rice husk biochar was produced in a gasifier at a local mill in Kelantan as well as in the laboratory using a controlled, specially designed, top lift up draft system (Belonio unit). Rice husk biochar was applied once to both soils at two doses (2% and 5%), in a pot set up that was carried out for two cropping seasons. Positive and significant crop yield effects were observed for both soils, biochars and crops. The yield effects varied with biochar type and dosage, with soil type and over the cropping seasons. The yield increases observed for the sandy soil were tentatively attributed to significant increases in plant-available water contents (from 4%–5% to 7%–8%). The yield effects in the acid sulfate soil were likely a consequence of a combination of (i) alleviation of plant root stress by aluminum (Ca/Al molar ratios significantly increased, from around 1 to 3–5) and (ii) increases in CEC. The agricultural benefits of rice husk biochar application to Malaysian soils holds promise for its future use. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; rice husk; Malaysia; acid sulfate; pot trial; multiple seasons; corn; rice biochar; rice husk; Malaysia; acid sulfate; pot trial; multiple seasons; corn; rice
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Manickam, T.; Cornelissen, G.; Bachmann, R.T.; Ibrahim, I.Z.; Mulder, J.; Hale, S.E. Biochar Application in Malaysian Sandy and Acid Sulfate Soils: Soil Amelioration Effects and Improved Crop Production over Two Cropping Seasons. Sustainability 2015, 7, 16756-16770.

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