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Agriculture 2018, 8(6), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8060071

Determining the Stability of Sugarcane Filtercake Biochar in Soils with Contrasting Levels of Organic Matter

1
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2
Departament de Biologia, Sanitat i Medi Ambient, Facultat de Farmàcia i Ciències de l’Alimentació, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
3
Centre de Ciència i Tecnologia Forestal de Catalunya, Ctra. de Sant Llorenç de Morunys, km 2, 25280 Solsona, Spain
4
Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 26 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochar and Soil: What Is behind Its Impacts?)
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Abstract

Sugarcane filtercake is a nutrient-rich residue produced prior to sugarcane distillation and is commonly disposed of by applying directly to agricultural fields, often causing high decomposition and leaching rates. Transforming this material into biochar could improve its stability in the soil. In this 92-day incubation study, filtercake biochar produced at 400 °C (BC400) and 600 °C (BC600) was used to trace biochar stability when mixed with two soils with different organic matter levels: an agricultural field (1.2% carbon (C)) and a forest (2.8% C) soil. Based on δ13C isotope analysis, biochar decreases in the field soil mostly occurred in the coarse silt fraction. In contrast, biochar decreases in forest soil appeared to be more equally distributed in all particle size fractions. A negative priming effect in biochar-amended soils was noticeable, mainly in the forest soil. Cumulative CO2 emissions were greater in soils with BC400 than in those with BC600 for both field and forest soils, while adding biochar increased CO2 emissions only in field soils. This increase did not appear to affect native soil organic matter pools. High-temperature filtercake biochar could thus be a more stable alternative to the current practice of raw filtercake applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: SOM; carbon dioxide emissions; δ13C isotope analysis; biochar; sugarcane filtercake; soil fractions SOM; carbon dioxide emissions; δ13C isotope analysis; biochar; sugarcane filtercake; soil fractions
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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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Speratti, A.B.; Romanyà, J.; Garcia-Pausas, J.; Johnson, M.S. Determining the Stability of Sugarcane Filtercake Biochar in Soils with Contrasting Levels of Organic Matter. Agriculture 2018, 8, 71.

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