ArticlePDF Available

Using poultry litter biochars as soil amendments

Authors:
  • Pacific Pyrolysis Pty Ltd

Abstract and Figures

Despite the recent interest in biochars as soil amendments for improving soil quality and increasing soil carbon sequestration, there is inadequate knowledge on the soil amendment properties of these materials produced from different feed stocks and under different pyrolysis conditions. This is particularly true for biochars produced from animal origins. Two biochars produced from poultry litter under different conditions were tested in a pot trial by assessing the yield of radish (Raphanus sativus var. Long Scarlet) as well as the soil quality of a hardsetting Chromosol (Alfisol). Four rates of biochar (0, 10, 25, and 50 t/ha), with and without nitrogen application (100 kg N/ha) were investigated. Both biochars, without N fertiliser, produced similar increases in dry matter yield of radish, which were detectable at the lowest application rate, 10 t/ha. The yield increase (%), compared with the unamended control rose from 42% at 10 t/ha to 96% at 50 t/ha of biochar application. The yield increases can be attributed largely to the ability of these biochars to increase N availability. Significant additional yield increases, in excess of that due to N fertiliser alone, were observed when N fertiliser was applied together with the biochars, highlighting the other beneficial effects of these biochars. In this regard, the non activated poultry litter biochar produced at lower temperature (450°C) was more effective than the activated biochar produced at higher temperature (550°C), probably due to higher available P content. Biochar addition to the hardsetting soil resulted in significant but different changes in soil chemical and physical properties, including increases in C, N, pH, and available P, but reduction in soil strength. These different effects of the 2 different biochars can be related to their different characteristics. Significantly different changes in soil biology in terms of microbial biomass and earthworm preference properties were also observed between the 2 biochars, but the underlying mechanisms require further research. Our research highlights the importance of feedstock and process conditions during pyrolysis on the properties and, hence, soil amendment values of biochars.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Using poultry litter biochars as soil amendments
K. Y. Chan
A,E
, L. Van Zwieten
B
, I. Meszaros
A
, A. Downie
C,D
, and S. Joseph
D
A
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 4, Richmond, NSW 2753, Australia.
B
NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongbar, NSW 2477, Australia.
C
Best Energies P/L, Somersby, NSW 2250, Australia.
D
University of New South Wales, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
E
Corresponding author. Email: yin.chan@dpi.nsw.gov.au
Abstract. Despite the recent interest in biochars as soil amendments for improving soil quality and increasing soil carbon
sequestration, there is inadequate knowledge on the soil amendment properties of these materials produced from different
feed stocks and under different pyrolysis conditions. This is particularly true for biochars produced from animal origins.
Two biochars produced from poultry litter under different conditions were tested in a pot trial by assessing the yield of
radish (Raphanus sativus var. Long Scarlet) as well as the soil quality of a hardsetting Chromosol (Alsol). Four rates of
biochar (0, 10, 25, and 50 t/ha), with and without nitrogen application (100 kg N/ha) were investigated. Both biochars,
without N fertiliser, produced similar increases in dry matter yield of radish, which were detectable at the lowest application
rate, 10 t/ha. The yield increase (%), compared with the unamended control rose from 42% at 10 t/ha to 96% at 50 t/ha of
biochar application. The yield increases can be attributed largely to the ability of these biochars to increase N availability.
Signicant additional yield increases, in excess of that due to N fertiliser alone, were observed when N fertiliser was applied
together with the biochars, highlighting the other benecial effects of these biochars. In this regard, the non activated
poultry litter biochar produced at lower temperature (4508C) was more effective than the activated biochar produced at
higher temperature (5508C), probably due to higher available P content. Biochar addition to the hardsetting soil resulted in
signicant but different changes in soil chemical and physical properties, including increases in C, N, pH, and available P,
but reduction in soil strength. These different effects of the 2 different biochars can be related to their different
characteristics. Signicantly different changes in soil biology in terms of microbial biomass and earthworm
preference properties were also observed between the 2 biochars, but the underlying mechanisms require further
research. Our research highlights the importance of feedstock and process conditions during pyrolysis on the
properties and, hence, soil amendment values of biochars.
Additional keywords: hardsetting soil, char, soil carbon sequestration, earthworms, microbial biomass, poultry manure,
pyrolysis.
Introduction
Biochars refer to the carbon-rich materials produced from the
slow pyrolysis (heating in the absence of oxygen) of biomass.
Recently, there has been much interest in biochars as soil
amendments to improve and maintain soil fertility and to
increase soil carbon sequestration (Glaser et al. 2002a,
2002b; Lehmann et al. 2003). The latter can be attributed to
the relative stable nature and, hence, long turnover time of
biochar in soil is of particular relevance to the solution of
climate change (Lehmann et al. 2006).
Currently, biochars are little used in agriculture in Australia
and elsewhere in the world. Benecial effects of biochar as a soil
amendment in terms of increased crop yield and improved soil
quality have been reported but the responses have been very
variable (e.g. Iswaran et al. 1980; Glaser et al. 2002a; Chan et al.
2007b). Biochars can be produced from a range of organic
materials and under different conditions resulting in products of
varying properties (Baldock and Smernik 2002; Nguyen et al.
2004; Guerrero et al. 2005) and, therefore, of different soil
amendment values. Biochars from plant materials are often low
in nutrient content, particularly N, compared with other organic
fertilisers (Lehmann et al. 2003; Chan et al. 2007b). Recently,
Chan et al. (2007b) reported a lack of positive plant response
when greenwaste biochar was applied at up to 100 t/ha and
attributed this to the low N availability of the plant-derived
biochar. Due to the generally higher nutrient content of animal
wastes than plant wastes (Shinogi 2004), biochars produced
from animal origins may have higher nutrient content, but their
agronomic value as soil amendments has not been investigated.
Poultry litter refers to the mixture of poultry manure and
bedding material from poultry farms. In Australia and elsewhere,
it has been widely used by farmers, e.g. vegetable growers, as a
source of plant nutrients. However, there are food safety and
environmental concerns about its application on agricultural
land in unmodied forms (Wilkinson 2003; Chan et al.
2007a). Wilkinson (2003) recommended only composted
CSIRO 2008 10.1071/SR08036 0004-9573/08/050437
CSIRO PUBLISHING
www.publish.csiro.au/journals/ajsr Australian Journal of Soil Research, 2008, 46, 437444
poultry litter should be used for side-dressing of vegetable crops
because of possible pathogen contamination. Several recent
studies (e.g. Vories et al. 2001; Chan et al. 2007a) have
associated land applications of poultry litter with a higher
potential risk of phosphorus contamination to surface waters.
Conversion of poultry litter to biochar using pyrolysis could be a
safer and more effective alternative to utilise this resource in
agriculture but hitherto no research has been carried out to
demonstrate this. Utilising poultry litter as a pyrolysis
feedstock also has advantages over typically used plant-
derived material because it is a by-product of another
industry and in some regions is considered a waste material
with little or no value. It can therefore provide a lower cost base
and alleviate sustainability concerns related to using purpose-
grown biomass for the process.
In this paper, we report results of a research project designed
to assess the agronomic values of 2 biochars produced from
poultry litter on plant yield and soil quality in a glasshouse pot
experiment.
Materials and methods
Soil
The soil was collected from the Flat Paddock at the Centre for
Recycled Organics in Agriculture (CROA) site, Menangle, near
Camden (70 m AHD, 02883278E and 6224546N), New South
Wales. The soil was an Alsol (a Chromosol according to
Australian Soil Classication; Isbell 1996). It is a typical
agricultural soil of New South Wales and the site had a long
history of cropping. The hardsetting A horizon has low soil
organic carbon concentration and is acidic, with pH
Ca
of 4.5
(Table 1). A composite sample was collected from the 00.1 m
layer, brought back to the laboratory, and sieved through a 6-mm
aperture sieve.
Biochars
Poultry litter was used as the feedstock of 2 biochars which were
produced in the BEST Energies continuous slow pyrolysis pilot
unit (Downie et al. 2007). The rst biochar (L1) was
manufactured at a temperature of around 4508C, and the
second (L2) was produced at a higher temperature of 5508C
and was activated using high temperature steam. The biochars
were both alkaline in nature. The non-activated biochar (L1) was
higher in C, total N, and available P, whereas L2 had higher pH,
liming value, and EC. Both biochars were very low in mineral N
(<3.0 mg/kg) (Table 1).
Pot trial
The experiment was carried out in a temperature-controlled
glasshouse (20268C). The experimental design used was
factorial randomised block design with 4 replications. Four
biochar rates (0, 10, 25, and 50 t/ha) combined with 2 N-
fertiliser rates (0, 100 kg/ha) were used. The biochar
application at different rates was calculated based on 0.10 m
depth of incorporation in the eld.
Air-dried soil and biochar-amended soils (1.25 kg oven-dried
equivalent) were packed into black plastic cylindrical pots
(14 cm i.d. by 14.5 cm tall) to achieve a bulk density of
1.2 Mg/m
3
. Nitrogen fertiliser (NH
4
NO
3
) in solution was
added in equivalent amounts (equivalent to 100 kg/ha) to half
of the pots. All the pots were then wetted up to eld capacity
using de-ionised water. Ten seeds of radish (Raphanus sativus
var. Long Scarlet) were planted in each pot and thinned to 5
seedlings after emergence. The pots were placed individually in
a shallow tray and regularly watered to maintain water content at
approximately eld capacity throughout the duration of the
experiment. Radish was chosen for the pot trial because it is
the indicator plant used for assessing composts, soil
conditioners, and mulches (Standards Australia 2003).
A supplementary experiment was also carried out using the
same soil without biochar but with 5 rates of N-fertiliser (0, 25,
50, 100, and 150 kg/ha) and 4 replicates.
Soil and plant analyses
At the completion of the pot trial (6 weeks), the whole radish
plants were harvested by removing them from the individual
pots. The plants were washed with de-ionised water, oven-dried
at 708C to constant weight before weighing to determine the dry
matter production. The plant materials were ne-ground and
then after acid digestion analysed for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Na.
Nitrogen was determined by Dumas combustion, and the cations
determined by ICP-AES after acid digestion (Kalra 1998;
USEPA 1996). Nutrient uptake (g/pot) was calculated from
the plant elemental analyses and the dry matter weights.
After harvesting, the soil from each pot was air-dried at 368C,
mixed thoroughly, and crushed gently to pass through a 4-mm
sieve. A subsample was ground further to pass through a 2-mm
sieve. The <2-mm samples were then analysed for pH, total C,
total N, extractable P (Colwell), and exchangeable cations
following Rayment and Higginson (1992). The pH was
measured in 1 : 5 soil/0.01 MCaCl
2
extract; total C and total
N were measured by combustion method; extractable P was
determined by Colwell method; and exchangeable cations were
determined using the Gillman and Sumpter method (Gillman
Table 1. Some properties of the soil and biochars used in the pot trial experiment
NA, Not applicable
EC
A
pH
A
Colwell P KCl-extractable N C C : N %CO
3
Exchang. cations (cmol(+)/kg)
(dS/m) NH
4
-N NO
3
-N (%) Al Ca K Mg Na
(mg/kg)
Soil 0.05 4.5 23 8.3 21 0.23 1.97 <0.5 0.9 6.8 0.3 2.2 0.7
Char L1 5.6 9.9 11600 1.8 0.6 2.00 38 19 15 NA NA NA NA NA
Char L2 14 13 1800 1.1 1.5 0.85 33 39 35 NA NA NA NA NA
A
Soil measured in 1 : 5 soil/0.01 MCaCl
2
, biochar measured in water extract following AS:4454 (Standards Australia 2003).
438 Australian Journal of Soil Research K. Y. Chan et al.
and Sumpter 1986). Microbial biomass C (MBC) of the soil
samples after harvesting was measured using the microwave
irradiation and extraction method of Islam and Weil (1998).
Suitability of the soil samples from the different biochar
treatments as earthworm substrate was assessed after
harvesting using the earthworm avoidance test by comparing
L1 and L2 amended soils against control soil in pair-wise
manner (OECD 1984). Soil tensile strength was determined
by measuring the force required to crush soil cylinders prepared
from air-dried soil samples (<4 mm) collected at the end of the
pot trial from all the different biochar rates treatments (only nil N
treatments) (Chan et al. 2007b).
Statistical analyses
All data were analysed by analyses of variance using GENSTAT
9.1. The treatment means were compared using least signicant
differences for the main effects of biochar and N-fertiliser as well
as their interactions.
Earthworm avoidance data were treated as Tally data (X) and
analysed by assuming to follow a Bernouli distribution with
P= 0.5 where Pis the probability of individual earthworms in
avoiding the biochar-amended soils (OECD 1984). The test
statistic used is a normal deviate (z) given as follows: z=(X
P)/H{P(1 P)/n,} where zhas a standardised normal distribution
with mean 0 and variance unity, and nis the total number of
earthworms. Unless otherwise stated, differences were
signicant at P0.05.
Results
Plant yield
In the absence of N fertiliser, both biochars signicantly
increased total dry matter (TDM) of radish even at the lowest
rate of application (10 t/ha), and the yield increased with
increasing rate of biochar application to 50 t/ha (Fig. 1).
Effect on TDM of radish was similar between the 2 biochars,
i.e. an average increase of 42% at 10 t/ha which rose to 96% at
50 t/ha when compared with the nil biochar control.
Results of the supplementary experiment using increasing
rates of N fertiliser (N-rates 0150 kg/ha) in the absence of
biochar indicated a signicant linear increase in TDM of radish
with increasing rates of N fertiliser:
TDM ¼0:0196 Nrate þ3:376;r2¼0:99
;n¼5ð1Þ
Based on the equation, the increase in TDM production due to
the application of 100 kg N/ha in the absence of biochar was only
2.12 g/pot, which was a 67% increase when compared with the
nil biochar, nil N control soil (Fig. 1).
Additional increases in TDM, in excess of those due to N
fertiliser alone, were observed when biochars were applied. The
increase was similar at 10 t/ha for the 2 biochars but differed at
higher rates of application (Fig. 1). For rates >10 t/ha, radish
TDM production from L2 remained the same but further
increases were observed in the case of L1 such that at 50 t/ha
of biochar application, DM production for L1 was signicantly
higher than that of L2 (10.0 v. 8.4 g/pot) (Fig. 1). The highest
TDM observed in this experiment was that for L1 at 50 t/ha in the
presence N fertiliser, which was 320% that of the nil biochar, nil
N control (Fig. 1).
Plant elemental concentration
In the absence of N fertiliser, the addition of both biochars
signicantly changed the plant elemental composition of radish
(Table 2). Biochar application increased N, P, S, Na, Ca, and Mg
concentrations of the radish plants. For K, biochar application
signicantly reduced its concentration but only at the lowest
application rate, i.e. 10 t/ha. Signicant biochar-type effect was
found for S and Ca, in that their concentrations were
signicantly higher when grown in L2 than L1 amendment.
In the case of P, signicant biochar biochar rate interaction
was detected, in that while addition of both biochars resulted in a
similar increase in concentration (>double) at 10 t/ha application
rate, it was different at increasing biochar application rates. For
L1, it increased and then remained constant, while for L2, it
decreased with increasing application rates particularly 50 t/ha
(Table 2). As a consequence, the difference in P concentration of
radish plants grown in the 2 biochars increased with increasing
rates of biochar application (Table 2).
Plant tissue analyses of radish also revealed a much higher
N concentration as a result of N fertiliser application (mean of
2.39 v. 1.69%); however, plant N concentration decreased
signicantly with the rate of biochar application
(Table 2). Nitrogen uptake results were similar for both
biochars and indicated signicantly higher N uptake with N
fertiliser application and increasing uptake with increasing rate
of biochar application (Table 3). These results indicated N-
deciency of the radish plants without N fertiliser application.
From nutrient uptake data, increasing N uptake at higher biochar
rates was accompanied by increased K, and to less extent Ca and
Mg uptake. It is therefore clear that K was the dominant counter
cation accompanying the uptake of N as nitrate ions. Phosphorus
uptake data indicated a signicant 3-way biochar type biochar
rate N interaction (Fig. 2). In the absence of N, P uptake
Biochar rate (t/ha)
0 102030405060
Dry matter (g/pot)
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
L2_100N
L2_0N
L1_100N
L1_0N
l.s.d.
Fig. 1. Dry matter production of radish with and without nitrogen fertiliser
as function of application rate of two poultry litter biochars.
Poultry litter biochars as soil amendments Australian Journal of Soil Research 439
increased with increasing biochar application but was higher for
L1 than L2, particularly for rate >10 t/ha. However, with N
fertiliser, while P uptake for L1 was signicantly higher than nil
N treatment and increased with increasing rates of biochar
application to 50 t/ha, for L2 it was only signicantly higher
than nil N treatment at 10 t/ha and did not change with increasing
rates of biochar application.
Soil quality changes
Application of poulty litter biochars signicantly changed all the
chemical parameters of the soilincreased EC, pH, total N, total
C, Colwell P, exchangeable cations (Ca, Mg, Na, and K), and
effective cation exchange capacity but decreased exchangeable
Al (Table 4). However, the effects were different for the different
parameters as indicated by signicant biochar rate interactions
in all cases, with the exception of C and exchangeable Al. In the
case of C, there were signicant biochar and rate effects in that C
concentration increased with increasing rate of biochar
application but its concentration was consistently higher in L1
than L2. For exchangeable Al, for both biochars, concentration
was reduced to zero even at the lowest application rate and
remained so with higher rates of application (Table 4). While
L1 was more effective in increasing C, total N, and Colwell P, L2
was more effective in increasing pH, Na, Ca, and eCEC of the soil
(Table 4). With increasing rate of biochar application, Colwell P
of both amended soils increased but the increases were much
higher in the case of L1, such that it was 5.05 times of that L2 at
50 t/ha (258 v. 51 mg/kg).
Table 3. Nutrient uptake (g/pot) by radish grown in 2 types of poultry litter (L1, L2) biochars added at different rates (0, 10, 25, 50 t/ha) in the
absence and presence of nitrogen fertiliser
n.s., Not signicant at P= 0.05; *P<0.05; **P<0.01; ***P<0.001
0 10 25 50 Signicance
L1 L2 L1 L2 L1 L2 L1 L2 Char type Rate Char rate
Nil N fetiliser
N 0.053 0.051 0.077 0.072 0.088 0.092 0.101 0.123 n.s. *** **
P 0.007 0.008 0.027 0.023 0.036 0.026 0.039 0.029 *** *** **
S 0.020 0.023 0.034 0.034 0.038 0.042 0.044 0.051 ** *** n.s.
Na 0.013 0.013 0.022 0.022 0.029 0.027 0.042 0.042 n.s. *** n.s.
K 0.118 0.124 0.150 0.156 0.193 0.193 0.240 0.240 n.s. *** n.s.
Ca 0.046 0.049 0.082 0.089 0.089 0.098 0.092 0.110 ** *** n.s.
Mg (%) 0.01 0.011 0.018 0.017 0.020 0.02 0.026 0.026 n.s. *** n.s.
With N fertiliser
N 0.161 0.147 0.176 0.178 0.197 0.187 0.213 0.209 n.s. ** n.s.
P 0.008 0.008 0.044 0.031 0.055 0.029 0.061 0.031 *** *** ***
S 0.025 0.027 0.040 0.040 0.059 0.048 0.068 0.066 *** *** n.s.
Na 0.041 0.038 0.054 0.061 0.070 0.056 0.083 0.078 n.s. *** n.s.
K 0.232 0.206 0.334 0.338 0.423 0.369 0.446 0.383 n.s. * n.s.
Ca 0.090 0.090 0.129 0.131 0.143 0.131 0.128 0.138 *** *** n.s.
Mg (%) 0.018 0.020 0.027 0.027 0.034 0.029 0.033 0.033 * *** n.s.
Table 2. Plant elemental composition(%) of radish grown under 2 poultry litter biochars (L1, L2) added at different rates (0, 10, 25, 50 t/ha) without
and with nitrogen fertiliser
n.s., Not signicant at P= 0.05; *P<0.05; **P<0.01; ***P<0.001
0 10 25 50 Signicance
L1 L2 L1 L2 L1 L2 L1 L2 Char type Rate Charrate
Nil N fertiliser
N 1.63 1.58 1.63 1.63 1.65 1.83 1.63 1.90 n.s. ** n.s.
P 0.20 0.24 0.57 0.53 0.67 0.51 0.62 0.44 *** *** ***
S 0.63 0.72 0.73 0.78 0.71 0.83 0.71 0.79 *** *** n.s.
Na 0.40 0.41 0.46 0.50 0.54 0.54 0.67 0.65 n.s. *** n.s.
K 3.65 3.85 3.10 3.53 3.58 3.80 3.80 3.70 n.s. ** n.s.
Ca 1.43 1.50 1.73 2.00 1.65 1.93 1.48 1.70 *** *** n.s.
Mg 0.32 0.34 0.37 0.37 0.38 0.40 0.42 0.40 * *** n.s.
With N fertiliser
N 2.88 2.78 2.15 2.30 2.10 2.25 2.13 2.50 n.s. ** n.s.
P 0.14 0.16 0.54 0.40 0.59 0.35 0.61 0.37 *** *** ***
S 0.45 0.53 0.49 0.52 0.63 0.57 0.68 0.79 *** *** n.s.
Na 0.74 0.72 0.66 0.77 0.75 0.67 0.83 0.93 n.s. *** n.s.
K 4.15 3.98 4.10 4.33 4.50 4.43 4.45 4.58 n.s. * n.s.
Ca 1.55 1.75 1.58 1.68 1.53 1.58 1.28 1.65 *** *** n.s.
Mg 0.33 0.39 0.33 0.35 0.36 0.34 0.35 0.40 * *** n.s.
440 Australian Journal of Soil Research K. Y. Chan et al.
Application of both biochars signicantly reduced soil
strength of the hardsetting soil as indicated by the tensile
strength measurements, and the effect of the 2 biochars was
similar. Average tensile strength of control soil was 192 kPa, and
this was signicantly reduced to 135, 107, and 71 kPa at,
respectively, 10, 25, and 50 t/ha of biochar application.
Biochar application to the soil signicantly increased MBC
but the 2 biochars behaved differently depending on whether N
fertiliser was added (Fig. 3). In the absence of N fertiliser, MBC
did not change signicantly when L1 was applied. For L2, MBC
at the higher rates of application, 25 and 50 t/ha, was
signicantly higher (122 and 94%, respectively) than the
unamended control. In the presence of N fertiliser, MBC
increased with increasing rates of biochar application only in
the L1 biochar amended soil and was up to 270% compared with
control soil at 50 t/ha application. However, for L2, MBC was
not affected by biochar application (Fig. 3). Earthworm
avoidance results provided no evidence that the introduced
earthworms avoided the L1 or L2 amended soil when
compared with the control soil. In fact, the proportion of
earthworms found in L1 was signicantly higher than that in
the L2-amended soil (P<0.001). Therefore, the introduced
earthworm demonstrated a preference for L1-amended soil
over that of the L2-amended and control soils (Table 5).
Discussion
Agronomic value of poultry litter biochar
Results of the pot trial indicate that both poultry litter biochars
can signicantly improve yield of radish when applied even at
the lowest rate of 10 t/ha and further increase yield with
increasing rate of application. The increasing N uptake with
increasing biochar rate application suggests the ability of these
biochars to supply N. This is in contrast to previous research
using biochar from plant origin (Chan et al. 2007b). In that study
a biochar from greenwaste provided no positive yield effect on
radish even when applied at a rate of 100 t/ha and this was
attributed to the very low N availability of the biochar used. The
2 poultry litter biochars were fairly high in total N (2 and 0.8%)
but were also very low in mineral N (Table 1). This suggests the
ability of the poultry litter biochars to release available N once
applied in the soil via mineraliation. Another possibility was
increased mineralisation of native soil N due to the application of
biochar, as result of the priming effect (Hamer et al. 2004).
Hamer et al. (2004) demonstrated that biochar (from maize and
rye residues) in soils can promote mineralisation of both labile C
compound as well as the biochar as a result of enhanced growth
of microorganisms. Further research is needed to resolve this.
The additional yield increases in TDM of radish, in excess of
that due to N fertiliser application observed in the presence of
biochars, had to be due other factors, such as higher available P,
liming value (Van Zwieten et al. 2007), and decreased tensile
strength. The liming effect of the biochars which increased soil
pH and completely removed exchangeable Al was observed in
both biochar-amended soils even at the lowest rate of biochar
Table 4. Changes in soil chemical properties as a result of different rates of char application (0, 10, 25, 50 t/ha) for the 2 poultry manure chars
(L1, L2)
n.s., Not signicant at P= 0.05; *P<0.05; **P<0.01; ***P<0.001
0 10 25 50 Signicance
L1 L2 L1 L2 L1 L2 L1 L2 Char type Rate Char rate
EC (1 : 5) 0.11 0.13 0.15 0.17 0.20 0.25 0.29 0.28 *** *** ***
pH
ca
5.01 4.83 6.07 6.66 6.60 7.29 7.06 7.78 *** *** ***
C (%) 2.00 1.95 2.38 2.27 2.80 2.48 3.60 3.20 * *** n.s.
Total N (%) 0.23 0.22 0.26 0.23 0.28 0.23 0.33 0.25 *** *** ***
Colwell P (mg/kg) 21 24 93 39 168 41 258 51 *** *** ***
Exchang. cations (cmol(+)/kg):
Na 0.61 0.78 0.74 0.77 0.89 1.03 1.13 1.38 *** *** **
K 0.28 0.40 0.55 0.59 0.90 0.85 1.68 1.45 ** *** ***
Ca 6.23 7.28 7.30 9.43 8.25 12.50 8.78 13.25 *** *** ***
Mg 2.00 2.35 2.28 2.40 2.75 2.90 3.48 3.38 n.s. *** ***
eCEC 9.12 11.07 10.87 13.19 12.79 17.28 15.07 19.46 *** *** **
Al 0.18 0.26 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 n.s. *** n.s.
Biochar rate (t/ha)
0 102030405060
P uptake (g × 102)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
L2_100N
L2_0N
L1_100N
L1_0N
l.s.d.
Fig. 2. Phosphorus uptake by radish with and without nitrogen fertiliser as
function of application rate of two poultry litter biochars.
Poultry litter biochars as soil amendments Australian Journal of Soil Research 441
application (Table 4). Our results also indicated differences in
the ability of the 2 biochars in further increasing radish yield in
the presence of N fertiliser. At a rate of >10 t/ha, the observed
different yield responses between the 2 biochars (Fig. 1) were
probably related to P availability. For L1, which had
signicantly higher available P (available P concentration of
L1 was 6.4 times that of L2, Table 1), further yield increases
were observed with increasing rates of biochar application.
However, further yield increase did not occur in the case of
L2 probably because of its inability to supply more P to the crop
as indicated by P uptake data (Fig. 2). As a consequence, the
non-activated poultry litter biochar has a greater ability to
increase the N fertiliser use efciency of plants when N is
not the limiting factor.
Improvement in soil quality
The changes in soil properties, such as increases in organic C and
pH and reduction in soil strength of the biochar-amended soils
were consistent with the properties of the biochars used in this
investigation which were alkaline and high in C content. The
differences in chemical changes between the 2 biochar-amended
soils reected the different properties of the biochars. L2 had
higher carbonate equivalent content, hence higher liming value
and EC, whereas available P, C, and N were higher in L1
(Table 1).
Our results highlight the potential benets of biochar
application in improving the physical properties of the
hardsetting soils which are very widespread in Australia
(Mullins et al. 1990). This has been previously reported in
the case of greenwaste biochar (Chan et al. 2007b) and could
be partly responsible for the higher radish yield observed in the
biochar-amended soils. The observed changes in biological
properties, namely microbial biomass and earthworm
preference, are interesting as they highlight the potential of
biochars to change the soil biology and therefore ecosystem
functioning of the soil. Previous research has reported enhanced
biological N xation (Rondon et al. 2007) and improved
colonisation of mycorrhizal fungi (Saito and Marumoto 2002)
by addition of wood biochar to soils. Topoliantz and Ponge
(2005) also reported greater casting activity by earthworm
species, P. corethrurus, in a charcoal/soil mixture compared
with soil alone and attributed this to the ability of the charcoal to
improve the soil as a living substrate. However, our data did not
help to explain the observed differences in microbial biomass
and earthworm preference between the 2 biochars. Our data also
did not explain the very large difference in MBC between L1 and
L2 observed in the presence of N fertiliser (Fig. 3). Furthermore,
it is not clear why the introduced earthworms demonstrated a
preference for L1 over L2. These differences in responses must
be related to the different characteristics of the 2 biochars, which
were produced from the same feedstock, but further research is
needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Research needs to improve soil amendment values
of biochar
Soil amendment value is important for agricultural market
development of biochars, and its improvement will facilitate
the use of biochar for soil carbon sequestration (Day et al. 2004).
Our results clearly show that biochar from poultry litter had
higher nutrient value (both N and P) than those produced from
plant materials. These biochars might have value as slow-release
organic fertilisers (N and P). Our results further highlight the
importance of processing conditions during pyrolysis such as
temperature and activation in determining the potential
agronomic value of the nal product. The biochar produced
at lower temperature (4508C) and without activation had higher
C, total N, and available P and, as demonstrated by plant
production data, is a superior soil amendment at higher
application rates used in conjunction with N fertiliser.
However, from the current data we cannot ascertain whether
it is the temperature or activation process that has created the
observed differences in properties of the 2 biochars.
It is expected that the composition and properties of biochar
vary with different pyrolysis conditions (temperature, rate of
heating, and pressure) and feedstock (Brown et al. 2006;
Hammes et al. 2006; Chan and Xu 2009). During pyrolysis
with increasing temperature, loss of elements such as N, P, and
cations occurs via volatisation, which is accompanied by
complex changes in the structural forms of carbon and micro-
porosity of the biochar materials (Chun et al. 2004; Shinogi
2004). Shinogi (2004) reported a reduction of total N in biochar
from sewage sludge from 5.0% at 4008C to 2.26% at
8008C. Baldock and Smernik (2002) studied the relationship
Biochar rate (t/ha)
0 102030405060
Microbial biomass C (ug/g)
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
L2_100N
L2_0N
L1_100N
L1_0N
l.s.d.
Fig. 3. Microbial biomass carbon of soils amended with different
application rate of two poultry litter biochars with and without nitrogen
fertiliser.
Table 5. Earthworm avoidance of biochar amended and control soils
Soil Proportion of
avoidance
95% Condence
interval
P(z)
Char L2 v. control 0.43 0.3310.529 P>0.05
Char L1 v. control 0.19 0.1130.267 P<0.001
Control v. control 0.47 0.3650.575 P>0.05
442 Australian Journal of Soil Research K. Y. Chan et al.
between changes in chemical composition and biological
inertness of char C obtained by heating Pinus resinosa
sapwood to temperature between 70 and 3508C. With
increasing temperature, data indicated a conversion of O-alkyl
C to aryl and O-aryl furan-like structure. This was accompanied
by a reduction in C mineralisation rate constant by an order of
magnitude for wood heated to >2008C. Such reduction in
substrate bioavailability for microbes of soil organic matter
has also been reported in eld soil after burning (Almendros
et al. 2003). Bagreev et al. (2001) also detected signicant
increases in porosity of the biochar between 400 and 6008C and
attributed the increases to water molecules released by
dehydroxlation acting as a pore former and activation agent,
thus creating very small (Angstrom-size) pores in the char. The
increases in porosity resulted in a 3-fold increase in surface area
(from 35 to 108 m
2
/g). These changes can potentially have large
impact on the content and availability of nutrients as well as
other soil amendment properties of the biochars. Furthermore,
the responses of different feedstocks to the biochar production
process can be different, but little is known about these.
Therefore, the effect of process conditions such as
temperature and rate of heating on biochar properties and
hence soil amendment values for different feedstock materials
requires further investigation.
Conclusions
This is the rst report on the use of poultry litter biochars as soil
amendments. Application of both of the poultry litter biochars to
a hardsetting soil resulted in signicant increases in dry matter
yield of radish, detectable at the lowest rate of application (10 t/
ha). The yield increases were largely due to the ability of these
biochar to increase nutrient availability, particularly
N. Signicant additional yield increases in excess of that due
to N fertiliser alone that were observed when N fertiliser was
applied highlighted the other benecial effects of biochar on soil
quality. In this regard, the non activated (4508C) poultry litter
biochar (L1) was more effective than the activated (5508C)
biochar (L2). The different effects of the 2 different biochars
on soil chemical and physical quality can be related to their
different characteristics. Our research highlights the importance
of feedstock and process conditions during pyrolysis in
determining the soil amendment values of biochars.
Acknowledgements
We acknowledge the nancial support of NSW Department of Environment
and Climate Change, BEST Energies Australia, and NSW Department of
Primary Industries for jointly funding this research. We thank Josh Rust and
Scott Petty for their assistance in conducting the soil biological analyses.
References
Almendros G, Kincker H, Gonzalez-Vila JF (2003) Rearrangement of
carbon and nitrogen forms in peat after progressive thermal oxidation
as determined by solid-state
13
C- and
15
N-NMR spectroscopy. Organic
Geochemistry 34, 15591568. doi: 10.1016/S0146-6380(03)00152-9
Bagreev A, Bandosz TJ, Locke DC (2001) Pore structure and surface
chemistry of adsorbents obtained by pyrolysis of sewage-derived
fertiliser. Carbon 39, 19711979. doi: 10.1016/S0008-6223(01)
00026-4
Baldock JA, Smernik RJ (2002) Chemical composition and
bioavailability of thermally altered Pinus resinosa (Red pine)
wood. Organic Geochemistry 33, 10931109. doi: 10.1016/S0146-
6380(02)00062-1
Brown RA, Kercher AK, Nguyen TH, Nagle DC, Ball WP (2006)
Production and characterization of synthetic wood chars for use as
surrogates for natural sorbents. Organic Geochemistry 37, 321333.
doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2005.10.008
Chan KY, Dorahy CG, Tyler S, Wells AT, Milham PP, Barchia I (2007a)
Phosphorus accumulation and other changes in soil properties as a
consequence of vegetable production in the Sydney region,
New South Wales, Australia. Australian Journal of Soil Research 45,
139146. doi: 10.1071/SR06079
Chan KY, van Zwieten L, Meszaros I, Downie A, Joseph S (2007b)
Agronomic values of green waste biochar as a soil amendment.
Australian Journal of Soil Research 45, 629634. doi: 10.1071/SR07109
Chan KY, Xu ZH (2009) Biocharnutrient properties and their
enhancement. In Biochar for environmental management.
(Eds J Lehmann, S Joseph) (Earthscan Publisher: London) (in press)
Chun Y, Sheng G, Chiou CT, Xing B (2004) Compositions and sorptive
properties of crop residue-derived chars. Environmental Science &
Technology 38, 46494655. doi: 10.1021/es035034w
Day D, Evans RJ, Lee JW, Reicosky D (2004) Valuable and stable co-
product from fossil fuel exhaust scrubbing. American Chemical Society,
Division of Fuel Chemistry 49, 352355.
Downie A, Klatt P, Downie R, Munroe P (2007) Slow pyrolysis: Australian
Demonstration Plant successful on multi-feedstocks. In Bioenergy 2007
Conference. Jyvaskyla, Finland.
Gillman GP, Sumpter EA (1986) Modication to the compulsive exchange
method for measuring exchange characteristics of soil. Australian
Journal of Soil Research 24,6166. doi: 10.1071/SR9860061
Glaser B, Lehannes J, Steiner C, Nehls T, Yousaf M, Zech W (2002b)
Potential of pyrolyzed organic matter in soil amelioration. In 12th ISCO
Conference. Beijing 2002, pp. 421427.
Glaser B, Lehmann J, Zech W (2002a) Ameliorating physical and chemical
properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal a
review. Biology and Fertility of Soils 35, 219230. doi: 10.1007/s00374-
002-0466-4
Guerrero M, Ruiz MP, Alzueta MU, Bilbao R, Millera A (2005) Pyrolysis of
eucalyptus at different heating rates: studies of biochar characterisation
and oxidative reactivity. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 74,
307314. doi: 10.1016/j.jaap.2004.12.008
Hamer U, Marschner B, Brodowski S, Amelung W (2004) Interactive
priming of black carbon and glucose mineralization. Organic
Geochemistry 35, 823830. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2004.03.003
Hammes K, Smernik RJ, Skjemstad JO, Herzog A, Vogt UF, Schmidt MWI
(2006) Synthesis and characterisation of laboratory-charred grass straw
(Oryza sativa) and chestnut wood (Castanea sativa) as reference
materials for black carbon quantication. Organic Geochemistry 37,
16291633. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2006.07.003
Isbell RF (1996) The Australian Soil Classication.(CSIRO Publishing:
Collingwood, Vic.)
Islam KR, Weil RR (1998) Microwave irradiation of soil for routine
measurement of microbial biomass carbon. Biology and Fertility of
Soils 27, 408416. doi: 10.1007/s003740050451
Iswaran V, Jauhri KS, Sen A (1980) Effect of charcoal, coal and peat on the
yield of moong, soybean and pea. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 12,
191192. doi: 10.1016/0038-0717(80)90057-7
Kalra YP (1998) Handbook of reference methods for plant analysis.Soil
and Plant Council. (CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL)
Lehmann J, de Silva JP Jr, Steiner C, Nehls T, Zech W, Glaser B (2003)
Nutrient availability and leaching in an archaeological Anthrosol and a
Ferralsol of the Central Amazon basin: fertilizer, manure and charcoal
amendments. Plant and Soil 249, 343357. doi: 10.1023/
A:1022833116184
Poultry litter biochars as soil amendments Australian Journal of Soil Research 443
Lehmann J, Gaunt J, Rondon M (2006) Bio-char sequestration in terrestrial
ecosystems a review. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global
Change 11, 403427. doi: 10.1007/s11027-005-9006-5
Mullins CE, MacLeod DA, Northcote KH, Tidall JM, Young IM (1990)
Hardsetting soils: behaviour, occurrence and management. In Soil
degradation. (Eds.R Lal, BA Stewart). Advances in Soil Science 11,
3799.
Nguyen TH, Brown RA, Ball WP (2004) An evaluation of thermal resistance
as a measure of black carbon content in diesel soot, wood char, and
sediment. Organic Geochemistry 35, 217234. doi: 10.1016/j.
orggeochem.2003.09.005
OECD (1984) Earthworm, acute toxicity tests. In OECD Guidelines for
Testing of Chemicals. Section 2, Effects on biotic systems. (OECD:
Paris)
Rayment GE, Higginson FR (1992) Australian laboratory handbook of soil
and water chemical methods.(Inkata Press: Melbourne, Vic.)
Rondon MA, Lehmann J, Ramirez J, Hurtado M (2007) Biological nitrogen
xation by common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) increases with bio-
char additions. Biology and Fertility of Soils 43, 699708. doi: 10.1007/
s00374-006-0152-z
Saito M, Marumoto T (2002) Inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi:
the status quo in Japan and the future prospects. Plant and Soil 244,
273279. doi: 10.1023/A:1020287900415
Shinogi Y (2004) Nutrient leaching from carbon products of sludge. In
ASAE/CSAE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 044063,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Standards Australia (2003) Australian Standardcomposts, soil
conditioners and mulches AS44542003.(Standard Australia
International Ltd: Sydney)
Topoliantz S, Ponge J (2005) Charcoal consumption and casting activity by
Pontoscolex corethrurus (Glossoscolecidae). Applied Soil Ecology 28,
217224. doi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2004.08.003
USEPA (1996) Acid digestion of sediments, sludge and soils. USEPA
Method 3050B. Test methods for evaluating solid waste, physical/
chemical methods.(US Government Printing Ofce: Washington, DC)
Van Zwieten L, Kimber S, Downie A, Chan KY, Cowie A, Wainberg R,
Morris S (2007) Papermill Char: Benets to soil health and
plant production. In International Char Initiative Conference.
30 April2 May 2007, Terrigal, NSW.
Vories ED, Costello TA, Glover RE (2001) Runoff from cotton elds
fertilized with poultry litter. Transactions of the American Society
of Agricultural Engineers 44, 14951502.
Wilkinson K (2003) Strategies for the safe use of poultry litter in food crop
production. Final report for project VG01049 Horticulture Australia,
Department of Primary Industries, Victoria.
Manuscript received 22 February 2008, accepted 3 July 2008
444 Australian Journal of Soil Research K. Y. Chan et al.
http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/ajsr
... Fly ash amended soil is not only increased soil pH but also improved the chemical properties of acidic soils and CEC which helped to increase the content of Ca and Mg. Such observations were also noticed by Lehmann et al. (2003) [17] and Chan et al. (2008) [8] . Deshmukh et al., 2000 [11] reported that fly ash application may improve the K, Ca, Mg and S status of deficient soil. ...
... Fly ash amended soil is not only increased soil pH but also improved the chemical properties of acidic soils and CEC which helped to increase the content of Ca and Mg. Such observations were also noticed by Lehmann et al. (2003) [17] and Chan et al. (2008) [8] . Deshmukh et al., 2000 [11] reported that fly ash application may improve the K, Ca, Mg and S status of deficient soil. ...
... It can be seen from the data ( Table 7) that available sulphur was decreased from 3o DAT to 90 DAT under paddy cultivation might be due to, under the submerged condition the available sulphur (SO 4 2-) undergo reduction process and is reduced to hydrogen sulphide (H 2 S) and further converted into insoluble iron sulphide (FeS). Such observations were also noticed by Lehmann et al. (2003) [17] and Chan et al. (2008) [8] . ...
Article
Full-text available
The field experiment was conducted at Agricultural and Horticultural Research Station (AHRS), Bhavikere under UAHS, Shivamogga to study the effect of different levels of fly ash on physical and chemical properties of soil. The four levels of fly ash 10, 20, 30 and 40 t ha-1 with and without Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria were tried with ten treatments. The effect of fly ash and their combination with and without Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria showed a non-significant effect on bulk density, particle density and EC. A higher dose of fly ash 40 t ha-1 recorded significantly higher maximum water holding capacity (35.05%), porosity (59.41%), organic carbon (5.54 g kg-1) and increased the pH of acid soil to near neutral (6.38) over control from 30 to 90 days after planting. Fly ash 40 t dddha-1 with Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria significantly increased the availability of macro and micro nutrients as compared to control.
... Biochar as soil amendment improved retention and supply of plant nutrients more effectively and consequently increase crop yield 23 . Their studies have already reported the agronomic effects of biochar on crop yield 21,27 . Results revealed that the soil treated with poultry litter char significantly improved and increased fruit yield of corn at P<0.05 than that of control (Graph 2). ...
... The increased in exchangeable bases could be due to the formation of ashes during poultry litter pyrolysis. Earlier studies had shown that poultry litter char has alkaline nature (pH 9-13) and high organic C content (15 -16%) 27 . ...
... Biochar is a porous material with high surface area that can significantly affect soil moisture and nutrient dynamics 23,29,30 . Effects of biochar on soil physico-chemical properties have been reported in many studies 21,27 . More importantly, these studies considered that high moisture contents and lower bulk densities are good soil characteristics for better and improved plant growth. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Poultry litter char (PLC) is one of the high valued fertilizer rich in nutrients and locally available, however, limited published data are available on its effects on crops and soil properties. The study was conducted to determine the optimum rate of poultry litter char enhancing growth and yield of corn and evaluate its effect on the physico-chemical properties of degraded upland soil. Five treatments using 0, 2.5, 5, 10, 20 tons of PLC ha-1 were used in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The results showed that poultry litter char application significantly increased the plant height, resulted to earlier tasseling, fruiting and harvesting of corn and increased their yield particularly number of fruits, fruit yield, ear length, weight of 1000 seeds and stover yield as well. In addition, corn tissue was found to have a considerable amount of nitrogen and phosphorus. On the other hand, addition of PLC significantly improved the physico-chemical properties of degraded soil such as reduction of soil strength, increased soil porosity and soil water holding capacity and increased pH, % OC, total N, Extractable P, Exchangeable K and Ca. The study recommends an application rate of 20 t ha-1 of PLC to improve the growth and yield of corn and enhance the properties of highly degraded soil and 2.5 t ha-1 PLC to gain a higher return on investment.
... Pyrolysis and composting methods are commonly utilized tools for reprocessing these plants and animals' waste into useful organic goods to enhance soil strength and crop production [25]. Chan et al. [26] found that the use of biochar reduced the yielding strength of soil cores, showing that biochar can decrease the risk of soil compaction and increase the pore volume. Verheijen et al. [27] reported that the biochar impeded the toxicity in the soil. ...
... Here, is the partition function that is defined as ∑ , is the concentration of the neutral atom, factor F represents the ablated mass volume and constant-efficiency parameter of the spectral system. Ablation mass parameter F can be achieved by normalizing the concentrations of elements present in the sample [26,50], is the integrated transition line strength, represents the statistical weight, ) denotes the transition probability from → , Ek (eV) is the upper-level energy, T is the excitation temperature in (eV), and kB denotes the Boltzmann constant in eV/K. All the atomic factors utilized for the investigation were taken from the NIST database [32]. ...
Article
Full-text available
We report a quantitative analysis of various plant-biochar samples (S1, S2 and S3) by utilizing a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technique. For LIBS analysis, laser-induced microplasma was generated on the target surface by using a focused beam through a high-power Nd: YAG laser and optical emission spectra were recorded using a charged coupled device (CCD) array spectrometer, with wavelength ranges from 200 nm to 720 nm. The spectroscopical analysis showed the existence of various ingredients, including H, Li, Ca, Na, Al, Zn, Mg, Sr, Si, and Fe, along with a CN molecular emission band due to B 2 Σ +-X 2 Σ + electronic transition. By assuming conditions of the plasma is optically thin and in LTE, calibration-free laser-induced breakdown spec-troscopy (CF-LIBS) was utilized for the compositional analysis of the ingredients present in the three plant-biochar samples. To lower the uncertainties, we used an average composition (%) of the three plant-biochar samples. The quantitative study of the plant-biochar samples was also achieved using the energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) technique, showing good agreement with the CF-LIBS technique. In addition, statistical analysis, such as principal component analysis (PCA), was performed for the clustering and classification of the three plant-biochar samples. The first three PCs explained an overall ~91% of the variation in LIBS spectral data, including PC1 (58.71%), PC2 (20.9%), and PC3 (11.4%). These findings suggest that LIBS is a robust tool for rapid measurement of heavy as well as light elements, such as H, Li, and nutritional metals in plant-biochar samples.
... Advances in Agriculture (ear length and ear weight) with an increased level of organic fertilizer (biochar and farmyard manure) and inorganic fertilizer (NPK) application [12,13]. Similarly, combined application of biochar and mineral nitrogen increased ear length, ear diameter, and ear weight [34]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Mixed application of organic and inorganic fertilizers in mixture improves soil fertility and crop productivity. However, the identification of combined application level is important. Therefore, a field experiment was conducted in 2020 in the Guto Gida district to assess the effect of maize cob biochar levels and inorganic NPS fertilizer rates on the growth and yield of maize. The study was conducted in factorial combinations of five rates of maize cob biochar and three rates of inorganic NPS fertilizer using a randomized complete block design with three replications. The main effect of the biochar level and NPS rate significantly affected crop phenology and biomass yield, whereas the number of kernels ear−1 was affected by the main effect of NPS rate. The combined application of biochar and NPS fertilizer significantly influenced plant height, leaf area index, ear weight, thousand kernel weight, grain yield, and percentage of grain yield. The interaction of biochar at 8 t·ha−1 with 100 kg·ha−1 NPS resulted in highest leaf area index (5.56), grain yield (7.03 t·ha−1), and yield increment (18.11%) followed by 8 t·ha−1 × 50 kg·ha−1 and all biochar levels with 100 kg·ha−1 NPS. In addition, the highest values of ear weight (276 g) and thousand kernel weight (47.81 g) were recorded in plots treated with combined application of biochar and NPS fertilizer at rates of 8 t·ha−1 × 50 kg·ha−1 and 4 t·ha−1 × 100 kg·ha−1, respectively, whereas plots not treated with both biochar and NPS resulted in lowest yield followed by 0 t·ha−1 × 50 kg·ha−1. In conclusion, integrated application of maize cob biochar at 8 t·ha−1 with NPS fertilizer at 50 kg·ha−1 improved the yield of maize by about 16.85% with net benefit of 61700.50 ETB ha−1 and marginal rate of return 733.68%, and therefore, the application of biochar at this rate with mineral NPS fertilizer at 50 kg·ha−1 is considered as suitable for the study area.
... Additionally, the positive effect of biochar on root growth was highlighted by several workers (Cheraghi et al. 2009;Bonanomi et al. 2017), predominantly increased root biomass (Ding et al. 2016), and root length (Lorenz and Lal 2016;Olma et al. 2016). Biochar amendment to soil has reported to enhance crop growth parameters which ultimately result in yield attributes. Biochar shows varied responses to different crop growth and yield attributes (Chan et al. 2008). Biochar from paper mill waste amended in agricultural soil for wheat, radish, and soybean production has enhanced their biomass ( Van Zwieten et al. 2010). ...
Chapter
The prominent concern of scientific community on sustainable agriculture merges the environmental objectives of soil management with increased food productivity to feed the ever-increasing world population. The concept of sustainable intensification has become apparent as a conspicuous outlying of this challenge. Soil is a momentous base of enriched nutrients and habitation for various microfloras. Globally, the agricultural land has been depleted, and soil quality is degraded by disproportionate addition of chemical fertilizers and other contaminants. Excessive plant and animal agricultural residues are being burnt or wasted, which can be recycled to favorable means adding benefits to sustain soil productivity. Consequently, a reformed attention is a prerequisite to preserve agricultural soil for efficient crop production by utilizing agricultural residues; biochar gives a natural solution for sustainable intensification of agricultural soil. Biochar as a soil organic amendment enriched with carbon enhances the eminence of soil and holds nutrients, thereby enhancing plant growth. In addition, it paves way for improved soil health as it affects the harmfulness, carriage, and destiny of heavy metals due to upgraded soil adsorption capacity. The improved soil properties and adsorption ability of biochar are attributed to their nutrient retention ability, high surface area, permeable nature, and ability to enhance microbial activity that leads to increased crop yield and productivity. The risk of soil compaction is minimized by biochar amendment as the stretchable asset of soil cores is decreased. Moreover, recycling agricultural residues into a precious soil nutrient makes a rural livelihood for the farming community. The productive impacts of biochar amendment on crop growth and soil quality recommends biochar as a sustainable solution to withstand deficit of essential nutrients in agricultural crop productivity. This review highlights the properties of biochar and its utility in sustainable agricultural production by ecological intensification of agroecosystem services.
... Additionally, the positive effect of biochar on root growth was highlighted by several workers (Cheraghi et al. 2009;Bonanomi et al. 2017), predominantly increased root biomass (Ding et al. 2016), and root length (Lorenz and Lal 2016;Olma et al. 2016). Biochar amendment to soil has reported to enhance crop growth parameters which ultimately result in yield attributes. Biochar shows varied responses to different crop growth and yield attributes (Chan et al. 2008). Biochar from paper mill waste amended in agricultural soil for wheat, radish, and soybean production has enhanced their biomass ( Van Zwieten et al. 2010). ...
... This study goes in favor of 33 statements. A similar trend that the addition of Al 2 SO 4 to poultry litter results in less nitrogen being lost than normal litter was also reported by 34 . An elevated nitrogen content in covered composted litter was found by 17 . ...
Article
This study was conducted to know about the nutritional quality of poultry litter amended with chemical coagulants after composting. For this purpose, chemical coagulants (i.e. Aluminum Sulphate and Aluminum Chloride, a dosage of 45g /chick) were applied in the selected poultry farms. Three types of poultry litter (i.e. treated with Aluminum Sulfate, Aluminum Chloride and untreated waste/control) were collected for compost and characterized for different macro and micro nutrients. It was observed that pH, EC, organic carbons were decreased while the nitrogen content was increased in chemically treated composts. The percentage difference in pH was-6.5%,-10.5% and-11.3%;-EC 6.1%,-19.3% and-15.6%; organic carbon-12.9%,-20% and-20%, while nitrogen was +24.6%, +28% and +25.2% for control compost, Al 2 SO 4 treated litter compost and Al 2 Cl 3 treated litter compost. Furthermore, the comparative analysis showed the sequence of high nutrition as control> control compost> Aluminum Chloride treated compost>Aluminum Sulfate treated compost. The recorded metal contents of control and composts were within the permissible limits set by USEPA and considered safe for agriculture. One-way anova among control and compost group showed significant (p =.000) effects while the interaction showed a non-significant difference (p =.744). However, the extensive and regular application of poultry litter may cause metal contamination. Hence, to ensure its benefits as a soil conditioner, it was recommended to implement management strategies such as chemical amendments of poultry litter, proper composting and regular monitoring of the poultry litter application into the soil.
Article
Full-text available
Soil salinity and sodicity is a potential soil risk and a major reason for reduced soil productivity in many areas of the world. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of different biochar raw materials and the effects of acid-modified biochar on alleviating abiotic stresses from saline-sodic soil and its effect on biochemical properties of maize and wheat productivity. A field experiment was conducted as a randomized complete block design during the seasons of 2019/2020, with five treatments and three replicates: untreated soil (CK), rice straw biochar (RSB), cotton stalk biochar (CSB), rice straw-modified biochar (RSMB), and cotton stalk-modified biochar (CSMB). FTIR and X-ray diffraction patterns indicated that acid modification of biochar has potential effects for improving its properties via porous functions, surface functional groups and mineral compositions. The CSMB treatment enhanced the soil’s physical and chemical properties and porosity via EC, ESP, CEC, SOC and BD by 28.79%, 20.95%, 11.49%, 9.09%, 11.51% and 12.68% in the upper 0–20 cm, respectively, compared to the initial properties after the second season. Soil-available N, P and K increased with modified biochar treatments compared to original biochar types. Data showed increases in grain/straw yield with CSMB amendments by 34.15% and 29.82% for maize and 25.11% and 15.03% for wheat plants, respectively, compared to the control. Total N, P and K contents in both maize and wheat plants increased significantly with biochar application. CSMB recorded the highest accumulations of proline contents and SOD, POD and CAT antioxidant enzyme activity. These results suggest that the acid-modified biochar can be considered an eco-friendly, cheaper and effective choice in alleviating abiotic stresses from saline-sodic soil and positively effects maize and wheat productivity
Article
Biochar, a carbon-rich material made from the partial combustion of biomass wastes, is an emerging material of interest as it can remediate pollutants and serve as a negative carbon emission technology. In this Review, we discuss the application of biochar in municipal wastewater treatment, industrial wastewater decontamination and stormwater management in the context of sustainable development. By customizing the biomass feedstock type and pyrolysis conditions, biochar can be engineered to have distinct surface physicochemical properties to make it more efficient at targeting priority contaminants in industrial wastewater treatment via adsorption, precipitation, surface redox reactions and catalytic degradation processes. Biochar enhances flocculation, dewatering, adsorption and oxidation processes during municipal wastewater treatment, which in turn aids sludge management, odour mitigation and nutrient recovery. The addition of biochar to sustainable drainage systems decreases potential stormwater impact by improving the structure, erosion resistance, water retention capacity and hydraulic conductivity of soils as well as removing pollutants. The feasibility of scaling up engineered biochar production with versatile, application-oriented functionalities must be investigated in collaboration with multidisciplinary stakeholders to maximize the environmental, societal and economic benefits. Biochar is a promising negative carbon emission technology with applications in wastewater pollution control. This Review assesses the performance of engineered biochar in various industrial, municipal and stormwater treatments, and discusses the partnerships required for biochar commercialization. Biochar, a type of partially combusted biomass, is a promising and carbon-negative solution for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment and stormwater management, as it can remove up to four times its own weight in carbon.Biochar performance in the water–climate–energy nexus is governed by its properties, which can be engineered for different purposes during biomass feedstock selection and customized production. Mineral-rich biomass can produce biochar with higher nutrient and ash contents, whereas lignin- and cellulose-rich biomass can form biochar with higher aromatic carbon contents.Multifunctional biochar can enhance sludge settleability, boost biological treatment and close resource loops by using sludge as feedstocks in municipal wastewater treatment.Specific removal strategies, including precipitation, sorption and catalytic degradation, with appropriate design of engineered biochar, are needed for industry-specific wastewater treatment to target various pollutants and aquatic chemistry.Engineered biochar can accelerate the attainment and harness the synergy of at least 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals throughout the cradle-to-grave life cycle.Partnership among interdisciplinary stakeholders, with strong policy support, a science-informed standardization system and state-of-the-art research advances, is the key to commercializing biochar for large-scale applications. Biochar, a type of partially combusted biomass, is a promising and carbon-negative solution for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment and stormwater management, as it can remove up to four times its own weight in carbon. Biochar performance in the water–climate–energy nexus is governed by its properties, which can be engineered for different purposes during biomass feedstock selection and customized production. Mineral-rich biomass can produce biochar with higher nutrient and ash contents, whereas lignin- and cellulose-rich biomass can form biochar with higher aromatic carbon contents. Multifunctional biochar can enhance sludge settleability, boost biological treatment and close resource loops by using sludge as feedstocks in municipal wastewater treatment. Specific removal strategies, including precipitation, sorption and catalytic degradation, with appropriate design of engineered biochar, are needed for industry-specific wastewater treatment to target various pollutants and aquatic chemistry. Engineered biochar can accelerate the attainment and harness the synergy of at least 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals throughout the cradle-to-grave life cycle. Partnership among interdisciplinary stakeholders, with strong policy support, a science-informed standardization system and state-of-the-art research advances, is the key to commercializing biochar for large-scale applications.
Article
Full-text available
A survey of 34 farms covering the major soil types used for growing vegetables within the greater Sydney metropolitan region ( New South Wales, Australia) was undertaken to determine the effect of vegetable production on soil chemical and physical properties. Comparison of farmed 'vegetable' v. unfarmed 'reference' sites revealed that the soils used for vegetable production had extremely high concentrations of total P, Colwell-P, and CaCl2-extractable P ( mean 1205, 224, and 4.3 mg/kg in the 0-0.30m layer, respectively). In the 0-0.30m soil layer, mean bicarbonate-extractable P (Colwell-P) concentrations have increased to up to 44 times that of the unfarmed reference soils and exceed that required for adequate vegetable nutrition. Concentrations of P in the soil solution (CaCl2-P) were up to 230 times that of the unfarmed reference soils. Moreover, the vegetable soils had low total soil carbon concentrations ( mean 14.1g/kg in the 0-0.10m layer, only 57% of the mean concentration of the reference soils). These soils exhibited extremely low structural stability, which is likely to reduce soil in filtration rates and increase the potential for runoff. Marked changes in soil pH, EC, and exchangeable cations (Ca, Mg, and K) were also observed as a consequence of vegetable production. All of these changes are a consequence of current management practices used in vegetable production, which include application of high rates of inorganic fertilisers and poultry manure, aswell as excessive cultivation. Excessive accumulation of P, to at least 0.30m depth, coupled with a loss of soil structural stability, is of particular environmental concern. Options such as adopting minimum tillage, in conjunction with using alternative inputs such as low P composts and cover crops, as a means of improving soil structure and reducing the extent of P accumulation in these soils require further investigation.
Article
Broiler litter is a valuable soil amendment for crop production, with litter typically applied to land areas used for grazing and/or hay production. Historically, farmers have based litter application rates on the nitrogen (N) needs of the receiving crop; however, this results in over-application of phosphorus (P). To alleviate the tendency to accumulate P in nearby watersheds, export of litter to other regions has been proposed. A field study was conducted at the University of Arkansas Northeast Research and Extension Center at Keiser, Arkansas, to quantify the impact of poultry litter on runoff water quality from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cropland in the Mississippi River Delta. Six 0.6-ha fields were fertilized with either commercial fertilizer (annually 140 kg N ha-1 yr-1 in a split application) or poultry litter (7,200 to 9,200 kg litter ha-1 yr-1). Runoff from each field was diverted through an H-flume, where water samples were collected. Stage was recorded and used to compute runoff flow. Concentration and mass loss of eight water-quality analytes were measured from 21 individual runoff events over a three-year monitoring period. Seedcotton yield was lower from the litter-fertilized plots, suggesting a need for refinements in the production system. Three-year total mass losses of total suspended solids (TSS) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), as well as total runoff volume, were reduced from fields receiving poultry litter compared to fields receiving commercial fertilizer. Differences associated with the two fertilizer treatments did not clearly exhibit a systematic change over three years, as would be expected if soil structure were changing as a result of the organic amendments. Although total TSS mass loss was reduced, concentrations of nutrients associated with the solid fraction of chicken litter increased periodically in runoff events that immediately followed litter application. Moreover, total loss of orthophosphate P from litter-treated fields was four times greater than from fields fertilized conventionally. Additional research is needed to ensure that poultry litter exported to the Mississippi River Delta region can be applied as part of an integrated crop fertility program that results in the desired agronomic performance while protecting and enhancing water quality.
Conference Paper
We proposed pyrolysis as a promising optional technology for recycling waste products, especially sewage sludge and animal waste (manure). In this study, nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) leaching characteristics of carbon products mainly from sewage sludge and cattle waste were analyzed. Results are summarized as follows: 1) Electrical conductivity (EC) of carbon product solutes increase with time, and phosphate and sulfuric ions dissolve gradually from the carbon products of both sewage sludge and cattle waste; 2) Nitrogen decreases with manufacturing temperature and nutrient concentration of phosphorous and potassium are larger; Both phosphorous and potassium are citric soluble and easily available for crop production; and 3) The ratio of nitrogen to phosphorous and potassium can be controlled through the manufacturing temperature. These results provide valuable information for utilizing carbon products from waste products.
Article
The compulsive exchange method for the measurement of cation and anion exchange capacities of soil as described by Gillman and subsequently recommended by the American Society of Agronomy for acid soils has been modified to achieve greater simplicity. Though originally intended for the measurement of highly weathered soils, the method has be extended to saline and non-saline calcareous soils, and also to the measurement of the variation of exchange capacity with pH.
Article
Wood char is an important source of environmental black carbon that affects the fate of organic contaminants in soils and sediments and plays a role in carbon cycling. Currently, the research community has need for char standards for laboratory use that are representative of naturally occurring chars. This investigation presents a scientific approach to the production of synthetic chars that have properties of a natural char produced by forest fire. The natural char examined for this purpose was that of a pitch pine obtained from the New Jersey Pine Barrens; however, the developed characterization approach is more generally applicable toward understanding and producing surrogate synthetic materials for any natural wood char. Small blocks of pitch pine wood were pyrolyzed using ramp rates between 30 and 1000°C/h and with maximum temperatures between 450 and 1000°C. The chars were then characterized using helium-based solid density, electrical resistivity, H/C ratio, PAH analysis and surface area measurements. A comparison of these key parameters among the synthetic and natural chars clearly demonstrated that the natural char had experienced maximum temperatures of 500–600°C. Additional studies based on re-heating suggest that the char had experienced very rapid heating rates (greater than 200°C/h) during its formation.
Article
The new Australian classification system is a multi-categoric scheme with classes defined on the basis of diagnostic horizons or materials and their arrangement in vertical sequence as seen in an exposed soil profile. This book brings together soils data from all over Australia accumulated over the past three decades. Serving as a framework for organising knowledge about Australian soils it provides a better means of communication among and between scientists of various disciplines and those who use the land. In the new scheme classes are mutually exclusive, and the allocation and identification of new and unknown soil types is by means of a key.