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Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 165;

Effect of Biochar Particle Size on Physical, Hydrological and Chemical Properties of Loamy and Sandy Tropical Soils

Soil and Plant Nutrition, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo, Avenida Pádua Dias, 11, Agronomia, Piracicaba, SP 13418-900, Brazil
Soil Biogeochemistry, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 3, 06120 Halle, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 24 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
PDF [1313 KB, uploaded 29 March 2019]


The application of biochar is promising for improving the physical, chemical and hydrological properties of soil. However, there are few studies regarding the influence of biochar particle size. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of biochar size on the physical, chemical and hydrological properties in sandy and loamy tropical soils. For this purpose, an incubation experiment was conducted in the laboratory with eight treatments (control (only soil), two soils (loamy and sandy soil), and three biochar sizes (<0.15 mm; 0.15–2 mm and >2 mm)). Analyses of water content, bulk density, total porosity, pore size distribution, total carbon (TC) and total N (TN) were performed after 1 year of soil–biochar-interactions in the laboratory. The smaller particle size <0.15 mm increased water retention in both soils, particularly in the loamy soil. Bulk density slightly decreased, especially in the loamy soil when biochar > 2 mm and in the sandy soil with the addition of 0.15–2 mm biochar. Porosity increased in both soils with the addition of biochar in the range of 0.15–2 mm. Smaller biochar particles shifted pore size distribution to increased macro and mesoporosity in both soils. Total carbon content increased mainly in sandy soil compared to control treatment; the highest carbon amount was obtained in the biochar size 0.15–2 mm in loamy soil and <0.15 mm in sandy soil, while the TN content and C:N ratio increased slightly with a reduction of the biochar particle size in both soils. These results demonstrate that biochar particle size is crucial for water retention, water availability, pore size distribution, and C sequestration. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar particle size; soil physics; soil chemistry; water retention biochar particle size; soil physics; soil chemistry; water retention

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de Jesus Duarte, S.; Glaser, B.; Pellegrino Cerri, C.E. Effect of Biochar Particle Size on Physical, Hydrological and Chemical Properties of Loamy and Sandy Tropical Soils. Agronomy 2019, 9, 165.

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