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Open AccessArticle

Interaction of Biochar Type and Rhizobia Inoculation Increases the Growth and Biological Nitrogen Fixation of Robinia pseudoacacia Seedlings

1
Key Laboratory of Non-Point Source Pollution Control, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 12 Zhongguancun South Street, Haidian District, Beijing 10081, China
2
Key Laboratory for Silviculture and Conservation, Ministry of Education, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35 Tsinghua East Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China
3
US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 1221 South Main Street, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(6), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060711
Received: 29 May 2020 / Revised: 23 June 2020 / Accepted: 23 June 2020 / Published: 26 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Scientific Basis of the Target Plant Concept)
Adding biochar to soil can change soil properties and subsequently affect plant growth, but this effect can vary because of different feedstocks and methods (e.g., pyrolysis or gasification) used to create the biochar. Growth and biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) of leguminous plants can be improved with rhizobia inoculation that fosters nodule development. Thus, this factorial greenhouse study examined the effects of two types of biochar (i.e., pyrolysis and gasification) added at a rate of 5% (v:v) to a peat-based growth substrate and rhizobia inoculation (yes or no) on Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) seedlings supplied with 15NH415NO3. Seedling and nodule growth, nitrogen (N) content, and δ15N × 1000 were evaluated after 3 months. While addition of biochar without inoculation had no effect on seedling growth, inoculation with rhizobia increased seedling growth, BNF, and N status. Inoculated seedlings had reduced δ15N, indicating that N provided via fertilization was being diluted by N additions through BNF. Biochar type and inoculation interacted to affect seedling growth. Combining inoculation with either biochar type increased seedling leaf, stem, and total biomass, whereas gasifier biochar and inoculation improved all seedling growth variables and nodule biomass. View Full-Text
Keywords: pyrolysis biochar; gasification biochar; black locust; rhizobium; isotopic nitrogen pyrolysis biochar; gasification biochar; black locust; rhizobium; isotopic nitrogen
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Sun, Q.; Liu, Y.; Liu, H.; Dumroese, R.K. Interaction of Biochar Type and Rhizobia Inoculation Increases the Growth and Biological Nitrogen Fixation of Robinia pseudoacacia Seedlings. Forests 2020, 11, 711.

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