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No Effect Level of Co-Composted Biochar on Plant Growth and Soil Properties in a Greenhouse Experiment
Open AccessArticle

Short-Term Effect of Feedstock and Pyrolysis Temperature on Biochar Characteristics, Soil and Crop Response in Temperate Soils

1
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Plant Sciences Unit, Burgemeester Van Gansberghelaan 109, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
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Isotope Bioscience Laboratory-ISOFYS, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
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Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
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UK Biochar Research Centre, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Kings Buildings, EH9 3JN Edinburgh, UK
5
Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2014, 4(1), 52-73; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy4010052
Received: 9 November 2013 / Revised: 24 December 2013 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 22 January 2014
At present, there is limited understanding of how biochar application to soil could be beneficial to crop growth in temperate regions and which biochar types are most suitable. Biochar’s (two feedstocks: willow, pine; three pyrolysis temperatures: 450 °C, 550 °C, 650 °C) effect on nitrogen (N) availability, N use efficiency and crop yield was studied in northwestern European soils using a combined approach of process-based and agronomic experiments. Biochar labile carbon (C) fractions were determined and a phytotoxicity test, sorption experiment, N incubation experiment and two pot trials were conducted. Generally, biochar caused decreased soil NO3 availability and N use efficiency, and reduced biomass yields compared to a control soil. Soil NO3 concentrations were more reduced in the willow compared to the pine biochar treatments and the reduction increased with increasing pyrolysis temperatures, which was also reflected in the biomass yields. Woody biochar types can cause short-term reductions in biomass production due to reduced N availability. This effect is biochar feedstock and pyrolysis temperature dependent. Reduced mineral N availability was not caused by labile biochar C nor electrostatic NH4+/NO3 sorption. Hence, the addition of fresh biochar might in some cases require increased fertilizer N application to avoid short-term crop growth retardation. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; nitrogen; crop growth; labile carbon; soil fertility; adsorption biochar; nitrogen; crop growth; labile carbon; soil fertility; adsorption
MDPI and ACS Style

Nelissen, V.; Ruysschaert, G.; Müller-Stöver, D.; Bodé, S.; Cook, J.; Ronsse, F.; Shackley, S.; Boeckx, P.; Hauggaard-Nielsen, H. Short-Term Effect of Feedstock and Pyrolysis Temperature on Biochar Characteristics, Soil and Crop Response in Temperate Soils. Agronomy 2014, 4, 52-73.

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