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Agronomy 2016, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/agronomy6010013

Application of Two Bioenergy Byproducts with Contrasting Carbon Availability to a Prairie Soil: Three-Year Crop Response and Changes in Soil Biological and Chemical Properties

1
Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan, 51 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada
2
Department of Soil Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cornelia Rumpel
Received: 26 April 2015 / Revised: 30 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 15 February 2016
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Abstract

The bioenergy industry produces a wide range of byproducts varying in their chemical composition depending on type of technology employed. In particular, pyrolysis and transesterification conversion processes generate C-rich byproducts of biochar (BC) and glycerol (GL), respectively, which can be added to soil. These two byproducts vary in their carbon availability, and comparing their effects when added to agricultural soil deserves attention. This study investigated the immediate and residual effects of a single application of BC and GL to a cultivated Brown Chernozem soil from the semi-arid region of southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. In the first season following addition of amendments, BC and GL alone had no significant impact on all measured parameters. However, when combined with 50 kg urea N·ha−1 (BC + UR), the yields obtained were similar to those with 100 kg urea N·ha−1 alone. The GL with urea N (GL + UR) treatment had reduced crop yield and N uptake compared to urea alone in the year of application attributed to N immobilization, but had a positive residual effect in the second year due to remineralization. Both GL and GL + UR treatments enhanced dehydrogenase activity compared to other treatments whereas BC + UR tended to decrease microbial biomass C. The crop and soil response to application of biochar was less than observed in previous studies conducted elsewhere. Direct and residual effects of glycerol addition on the crop were more evident. An application rate greater than 2.8 t·ha−1 and 3.5 t·ha−1 for BC and GL, respectively, may be required to induce larger responses. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; glycerol; yield; N uptake; microbial biomass; dehydrogenase enzyme biochar; glycerol; yield; N uptake; microbial biomass; dehydrogenase enzyme
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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

Alotaibi, K.D.; Schoenau, J.J. Application of Two Bioenergy Byproducts with Contrasting Carbon Availability to a Prairie Soil: Three-Year Crop Response and Changes in Soil Biological and Chemical Properties. Agronomy 2016, 6, 13.

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