Contrasted effects of biochar on maize growth and N use efficiency depending on soil conditions
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State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
Agricultural Resource and Environment Research, Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 530007, China
Publication date: 2015-04-27
Int. Agrophys. 2015, 29(2): 257–266
Biochar amendment may improve crop growth through its nutrients and indirect fertility. However, this improvement varies in a wide range of biochars, crops, and soils. Our objectives were to determine the response of crop growth to biochar amendment and to assess the N use efficiency relative to the biochar and the soil types. In this pot experiment, we investigated five typical agricultural soils in China amended with two biochars. Four treatments were designed: the soil itself as a control, the soil amended with 1% biochar, the soil with fertilizer NPK, and the soil with added biochar and fertilizer. Biochar amendment increased the maize biomass and the N use efficiency in the red soil (p<0.05) but not in the other four soils (p>0.05). In the red soil, the biomass under biochar+NPK was 2.67-3.49 times higher than that of only NPK, and 1.48-1.62 times higher than that of only biochar amendment, 21-36 and 35-42% of which were contributed from biochar fertility and indirect fertility, respectively. This study indicates that biochar amendment is very plausible for the red soil but has a minor or even negative effect on the other four soils in China.