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Open AccessArticle

Soil Nutrient Dynamics and Nitrogen Fixation Rate Changes over Plant Growth in Temperate Soil

Institute of Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Herman O. St. 15, 1022 Budapest, Hungary
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 179;
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 6 April 2019
Research on the use of soil enhancer materials such as biochar from soil chemical perspective still provide differing results; therefore, investigations focusing on soil-biochar-plant interactions are still necessary to constrain our understanding of complex biochar effects. The present study investigated the changes in biological nitrogen fixation rates (BNF) and overall nutrient dynamics (NO3, NH4+, total N, K2O, and P2O5) during the growth of Capsicum annuum (pepper) in pot experiments amended with biochar made of paper fiber sludge and grain husk. Four treatments were studied with 0, 0.5%, 2.5%, and 5.0% (by weight) added biochar (BC) amount to temperate silt loam soil. Peppers were planted at 2–4 leave stages and grown for the duration of 12.5 weeks. Our results showed that total nitrogen had relatively small changes in all treatments over time compared to the dynamic changes observed in the case of inorganic nutrients. NO3-N and NH4+-N abundances presented a continuous decrease during the course of the study after an initial increase. The pepper plant facilitated the BNF rates to triple in the control soils, while plants were in the growing phase (weeks 1–6), which further increased an additional 61% by harvesting (week 12). A high amount of biochar addition suppressed potential BNF rates of the investigated soil, indicating its potentially negative effects on soil indigenous microbial communities if added in excess. We also found a plateau in plant biomass production that after reaching an optimal (2.5%) biochar amendment in the soils, and excess biochar addition did not result in significant changes in the soils’ pH to achieve better nutrient (potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous) use or crop growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; biological nitrogen fixation; plant growth; silt loam; pepper biochar; biological nitrogen fixation; plant growth; silt loam; pepper
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Horel, Á.; Gelybó, G.; Potyó, I.; Pokovai, K.; Bakacsi, Z. Soil Nutrient Dynamics and Nitrogen Fixation Rate Changes over Plant Growth in Temperate Soil. Agronomy 2019, 9, 179.

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