Special Issue "Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Soils".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Zakaria Solaiman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
Interests: biochar; compost; soil health; mycorrhizal symbiosis; soil contaminants; medicinal plants; agronomy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Hossain Md Anawar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
Interests: soil chemistry; soil contaminants; biochar; soil fertility; soil nutrients

Special Issue Information

Soil constraint is a major problem for plant growth and crop production. There are a couple of soil constraints that affect crop yield. Among those, the most notable ones are chemical, physical, and biological constraints. Chemical constraints are nutrient deficiencies, acidity, salinity, and sodicity that significantly impact crop production. Nutrient-deficient soil is not suitable for adequate crop production and requires a large amount of fertilizers. Physically constrained soils, which have compacted soil layers with high bulk density, low air entry, and water movement, have low soil fertility and nutrients. Soils with low organic matter content have poor biological activities with reduced diversity of soil organisms, earthworms, and arbuscular mycorrhizae. Soil amendment by biochar and compost can significantly improve soil quality by increasing the soil organic carbon, soil health, soil fertility, and agronomic benefits. Therefore, the main aim of this Special Issue is to publish papers focusing on recent scientific progress and innovation in the Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility. This Special Issue will publish papers on how the application of biochar and compost can overcome soil constraints such as acidity, salinity, drought, low fertility, etc. and subsequently increase soil health and crop yields.

Dr. Zakaria Solaiman
Dr. Hossain Md Anawar
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Soil acidity
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizae
  • Agronomic benefits
  • Biochar
  • Compost
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Soil quality
  • Soil constraint
  • Soil salinity
  • Soil organic carbon
  • Soil health
  • Soil fertility
  • Soil organisms

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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Article
Nutrients Leaching from Tillage Soil Amended with Wheat Straw Biochar Influenced by Fertiliser Type
Agriculture 2021, 11(11), 1132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11111132 - 11 Nov 2021
Viewed by 299
Abstract
The co-application of biochar and fertiliser has emerged as a strategy for improving soil quality and crop growth; however, the impact of the type of fertiliser added with biochar to the soil on leaching and retention of nutrients is not well studied. In [...] Read more.
The co-application of biochar and fertiliser has emerged as a strategy for improving soil quality and crop growth; however, the impact of the type of fertiliser added with biochar to the soil on leaching and retention of nutrients is not well studied. In this study, a leaching experiment was undertaken using a series of column lysimeters incorporating a wheat straw biochar (WSB) and two fertiliser types—chemical fertiliser (CF), or rock mineral fertiliser (MF). The results showed that CF and MF leached a similar amount of NH4+ with or without WSB, but the NO3 leaching occurred from CF-treated soil which was decreased by CF + WSB application. In contrast, NO3 leaching was not affected by WSB in MF-treated soil. Both CF and MF with or without WSB increased the cumulative leaching of P and K. Nevertheless, WSB application increased soil P and K contents after leaching, which was attributed to intrinsic nutrient release from biochar. Shoot growth and P and K uptake also increased with biochar amendment, whereas root growth and N uptake did not change. Therefore, the results highlight that biochar addition can improve nutrient retention and plant growth by reducing nutrient leaching, mainly dependent on biochar and fertiliser type combination used. It suggests that the adsorption properties of biochar for nutrient retention and subsequent release need to know before their broad application to soils as amendments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Lime and Manure Amendment Improve Soil Fertility, Productivity and Nutrient Uptake of Rice-Mustard-Rice Cropping Pattern in an Acidic Terrace Soil
Agriculture 2021, 11(11), 1070; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11111070 - 30 Oct 2021
Viewed by 362
Abstract
Acid soil is an obstacle to agricultural development and a concern regarding food and environmental security. Therefore, a study was carried out for two consecutive years to see how lime and organic manure (OM) amendments affect yield and nutrient absorption in the Transplanted [...] Read more.
Acid soil is an obstacle to agricultural development and a concern regarding food and environmental security. Therefore, a study was carried out for two consecutive years to see how lime and organic manure (OM) amendments affect yield and nutrient absorption in the Transplanted (T.) Aman–Mustard–Boro cropping pattern in an acidic terrace soil. With nine treatments and three replications, the experiment was set in a randomized complete block design. The treatments were applied to the first crop, T. Aman, with different dosages of lime (dololime at the rate of 1 and 2 t ha−1), OM (cow dung at 5 t ha−1, poultry manure at 3 t ha−1) and lime–OM combination, and their residual effects were studied in the following mustard and boro rice crops. Results demonstrate that the effect of lime and manure was more pronounced in the case of the second and third crops in the first year and of all crops in the pattern in the second year. In the first year, grain and straw yield of T. Aman as well as the overall system productivity were not influenced significantly by the application of lime and manure, but significant increases were obtained in the second year. As an average of both years, the highest grain yield of 5.2 t ha−1 (12% over control) was recorded for T. Aman, 1.7 t ha−1 (41% over control) for mustard and 5.9 t ha−1 (47% over control, 3.9 t ha−1) for boro rice when dololime was applied in combination with poultry manure. In both years, N, P, K and S uptake were significantly increased compared to the control in all the crops due to the combined application of lime and cow dung or poultry manure. Combined application of lime and manure amendment significantly improved nutrient availability and soil quality. Therefore, applying lime in combination with manure can be practiced to uplift crop productivity in acidic terrace soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Coupled Effects of Reduced Chemical Fertilization and Biochar Supplementation on Availability and Transformations of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Vegetable Farmland Soil: An In Situ Study in Southern China
Agriculture 2021, 11(10), 979; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11100979 - 09 Oct 2021
Viewed by 347
Abstract
Reduced fertilization technology is an eco-friendly strategy to minimize nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) surpluses and losses in vegetable production. However, little is known about the performance of chemical fertilizer reduction when supplemented with palm silk biochar (PSB) in subtropical acid soils. A [...] Read more.
Reduced fertilization technology is an eco-friendly strategy to minimize nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) surpluses and losses in vegetable production. However, little is known about the performance of chemical fertilizer reduction when supplemented with palm silk biochar (PSB) in subtropical acid soils. A short-term (60 d) field investigation under conditions of in situ incubation was conducted in vegetable farmland in southern China. The treatments included no fertilization (Control), 100% conventional fertilization (CF100), 90% conventional fertilization plus 10% PSB-based fertilization (CF90B10), 85% conventional fertilization plus 15% PSB-based fertilization (CF85B15), and 80% conventional fertilization plus 20% PSB-based fertilization (CF80B20). The CF90B10, CF85B15, and CF80B20 treatments had the same inputs of total N and P as the CF100 treatment. Reduced chemical fertilization generally decreased the soil NH4+-N regardless of the PSB substitution rate (10%, 15%, or 20%), incubation condition (top-covered or top-open: preventing or allowing the leaching process, respectively), and sampling time (1 day or 60 days). Conversely, compared with the CF100 treatment, both the CF85B15 and CF80B20 treatments did not lead to a significant decrease in the NO3-N concentration in soil under top-open incubation conditions, but significantly (p < 0.05) increased soil NO3-N under top-covered incubation conditions. The CF80B20 treatment significantly (p < 0.05) decreased soil Olsen-P in comparison with the CF100 treatment, regardless of the incubation condition and sampling time. After applying chemical fertilizer in combination with PSB, soil net ammonification and N mineralization tended to be reduced considerably, with substantial reductions of 39–76% and 24–45%, respectively; reversely, soil net nitrification was stimulated by an increased PSB substitution rate. As the rate of chemical fertilization decreased, the trends in NH4+-N and NO3-N losses from the soil were similar to the trends observed in soil net ammonification and net nitrification, respectively. Additionally, there were no significant differences in the soil net P mineralization and Olsen-P loss between chemical fertilization alone and in combination with PSB application. Generally, the partial substitution of chemical fertilizer with PSB at a low application rate may not substantially reduce plant-available NO3-N and Olsen-P. It can also contribute to the sustainable availability of N and P in vegetable farmland soil via a variety of transformation processes, such as mineralization, immobilization, and loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Combined Application of Rice Husk Biochar and Lime Increases Phosphorus Availability and Maize Yield in an Acidic Soil
Agriculture 2021, 11(8), 793; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11080793 - 19 Aug 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Biochar, a pyrogenic carbon, has been receiving incremental attention for potential contribution to soil health, agricultural productivity enhancement while mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, it is not well-known to us how far rice husk biochar [...] Read more.
Biochar, a pyrogenic carbon, has been receiving incremental attention for potential contribution to soil health, agricultural productivity enhancement while mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, it is not well-known to us how far rice husk biochar (RHB) application rates could increase phosphorus (P) bioavailability and plant performance when co-applied with P and lime. Here, we present data of a pot experiment consisting of eleven treatments to evaluate RHB, lime, and phosphorus effect on soil phosphorus availability, CO2 emission, nutrient uptake, and yield performance of maize. Co-application of RHB (10 and 15 t ha−1) and lime (100% and 75%) was made with different rates of P (100%, 75%, and 50%). Our result revealed that, at harvest, the combined application of RHB, lime, and phosphorus fertilizer significantly increased soil pH, P availability and decreased Al and Fe toxicity relative to the control while increasing maize yield. The maximum soil pH increased by 36.75%, the highest available P increased by 158.75%, whilst, the exchangeable Al content reduced by 96.84% compared to the control treatment. However, the difference in biomass production and yield among different lime, RHB, and P were minimal, with the largest grain yield (15.50 t ha−1) was recorded in the T6 treatments (75% lime + 10 t ha−1 RHB + 100% Triple superphosphate). The increment in biomass and grain yield could have occurred due to lime and RHB mediated changes in soil properties, including enhancement of soil pH, availability of P, and other nutrients. This increased availability then increased nutrient uptake and biomass production. Our results suggest that the combined application of lime and RHB could bring favorable changes in soil properties while sacrificing some carbon from soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Biochar Improves Sustainability of Green Roofs via Regulate of Soil Microbial Communities
Agriculture 2021, 11(7), 620; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11070620 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 680
Abstract
Green roofs are an important part of urban green spaces. A good roof soil system contributes to the stability of the green roof ecosystem in harsh environments. Biochar as a soil additive can improve soil nutrients, although the mechanism of improvement on the [...] Read more.
Green roofs are an important part of urban green spaces. A good roof soil system contributes to the stability of the green roof ecosystem in harsh environments. Biochar as a soil additive can improve soil nutrients, although the mechanism of improvement on the roof substrate is still unclear. This research studied the effects on the physical and chemical properties of green roof soil and analyzed the biological characteristics of green roofs at five gradient ratios of biochar addition (0%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% biochar; v/v). The results indicated that biochar could improve the soil porosity (5.3–9.3%) and reduce the bulk density (3.9–10.8%); increase the soil moisture (14.0–37.2%); adjust the temperature, available nutrients and cation exchange capacity (38.1–75.9%) and regulate the soil pH values of the green roof. The biomass of soil microbes, eukaryotes and plants were increased by 75.3%, 199.2% and 57.5%, respectively. Meanwhile, the correlation between microbial diversity and soil nutrients was more significant due to the addition of biochar, and the increase of the phosphorus (P) and carbon (C) contents was the main factor affecting the microbial community. The structural equation model showed that biochar has a direct impact on the microbial diversity by improving the soil moisture, temperature and available nutrients, and the increase of the microbial diversity is conducive to plant growth. Summarily, biochar can be considered as a potential additive for roof soil amendment and promoting the growth of plants and microbes, which is beneficial to the development of a roof ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Biochar Grafted on CMC-Terpolymer by Green Microwave Route for Sustainable Agriculture
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 350; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11040350 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 754
Abstract
The deficiency of water sources and the environmental disposal of large amounts of biomass waste (orange peels) produces economic and environmental problems, though its conversion into biochar by a pyrolysis procedure might be used to improve soil productivity. In the current study, we [...] Read more.
The deficiency of water sources and the environmental disposal of large amounts of biomass waste (orange peels) produces economic and environmental problems, though its conversion into biochar by a pyrolysis procedure might be used to improve soil productivity. In the current study, we investigated the performance of superabsorbent biochar composite grafted on CMC as a low-cost, alternative, and biodegradable terpolymer composite (IPNCB) for soil water retention capacity. The IPNCB composite was synthesized by both microwave and conventional routes. The optimal reaction parameters proved that the microwave route has a high grafting percentage (%G) and short reaction time compared to the conventional route. The superabsorbent composite was characterized using different methods: FTIR, TGA, and SEM. The results show that the equilibrium water swelling (EW) of the IPNCB composite was improved at a 2% biochar concentration. The incorporation of biochar (BC) into the polymer network improved the water holding capacity (WHC) to 57.6% and water retention (WR) to 9.1% after 30 days. The degradation test indicates the IPNCB composite has a good degradability rate. Mixing soil with the prepared IPNCB composite can improve plant growth and reduce water consumption through the irrigation of arid lands. The IPNCB composite is a candidate in sustainable agriculture applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Biochar Chemistry in a Weathered Tropical Soil: Kinetics of Phosphorus Sorption
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 295; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11040295 - 29 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
The phosphorus (P) chemistry of biochar (BC)-amended soils is poorly understood. This statement is based on the lack of published research attempting a comprehensive characterization of biochar’s influence on P sorption. Therefore, this study addressed the kinetic limitations of these processes. This was [...] Read more.
The phosphorus (P) chemistry of biochar (BC)-amended soils is poorly understood. This statement is based on the lack of published research attempting a comprehensive characterization of biochar’s influence on P sorption. Therefore, this study addressed the kinetic limitations of these processes. This was accomplished using a fast pyrolysis biochar made from a mix of waste materials applied to a highly weathered Latossolo Vermelho distrofico (Oxisol) from São Paulo, Brazil. Standard method (batch method) was used. The sorption kinetic studies indicated that P sorption in both cases, soil (S) and soil-biochar (SBC), had a relatively fast initial reaction between 0 to 5 min. This may have happened because adding biochar to the soil decreased P sorption capacity compared to the mineral soil alone. Presumably, this is a result of: (i) Inorganic phosphorus desorbed from biochar was resorbed onto the mineral soil; (ii) charcoal particles physically covered P sorption locations on soil; or (iii) the pH increased when BC was added SBC and the soil surface became more negatively charged, thus increasing anion repulsion and decreasing P sorption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Effects of Poultry Manure and Biochar on Acrisol Soil Properties and Yield of Common Bean. A Short-Term Field Experiment
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 290; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11040290 - 28 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 711
Abstract
Common bean is usually cropped under rainfed conditions and in soils with low pH and water retention, in the sub-humid and semiarid regions of Brazil. To improve soil conditions, smallholder farmers commonly use cattle manure. However, manure is available in limited amounts, insufficient [...] Read more.
Common bean is usually cropped under rainfed conditions and in soils with low pH and water retention, in the sub-humid and semiarid regions of Brazil. To improve soil conditions, smallholder farmers commonly use cattle manure. However, manure is available in limited amounts, insufficient to fertilize all cropping areas. Thus, other amendments, such as poultry manure (PM) and biochar (BC), have been proposed to increase soil water retention and pH. We evaluated the effects of BC (10, 20, and 40 t ha−1; BC10, BC20, and BC40, respectively), PM (5 t ha−1; PM), the combination of both amendments (BC10 + PM, BC20 + PM, and BC40 + PM) and an absolute control (Control), with no amendment, on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, and on common bean water use efficiency (WUE) and yield. The treatments had no effects on total organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, microbial biomass carbon, soil physical properties, and evapotranspiration. Treatment combination BC (10 t ha−1) + PM (5 t ha−1) significantly improved phosphorus concentration, enzymatic activities, WUE, and bean yield in this one-year experiment and it can be a viable management practice for smallholder farmers in the Brazilian sub-humid region. However, further investigations are required to study the long-term field effects of the best performing soil amendments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
Article
Changes in Acidic Soil Chemical Properties and Carbon Dioxide Emission Due to Biochar and Lime Treatments
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 219; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030219 - 07 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
To mitigate global climate change and simultaneously increase soil productivity, the use of biochar in agriculture can be a modern agro-technology that can help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing soil carbon sequestration, and ultimately increasing crop yield. This study aimed to evaluate [...] Read more.
To mitigate global climate change and simultaneously increase soil productivity, the use of biochar in agriculture can be a modern agro-technology that can help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing soil carbon sequestration, and ultimately increasing crop yield. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of biochar and lime application on the chemical properties of acid soil and the emission of CO2. A 60-day incubation study was conducted with eleven treatments (T) in which two different biochar produced from rice husk (RHB) and oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFBB) at two rates (10 and 15 t ha−1) and on three rates of dolomitic limestone (100%, 75%, and 50%), recommended rate of NPK and a control (no amendment). The result showed that biochar and lime significantly increased soil pH, available P, and decreased exchangeable Al compared to the control. The pH increase was 44.02% compared to the control treatment on day 15, and the available P was found to be 22.44 mg kg−1 on day 30 from Treatment 7 (75% lime + 15 t ha−1 RHB). The cumulative CO2 emission from T7 was 207.40 μmol CO2 m−2 that decreased 139.41% compared to the control. Our findings conclude that RHB with 75% lime has more potential than EFBB to increase nutrient availability and reduce the emission of CO2 in acid soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Assessing the Increase in Soil Moisture Storage Capacity and Nutrient Enhancement of Different Organic Amendments in Paddy Soil
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010044 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
Increasing soil moisture storage capacity is a strategy that can be implemented to minimize the use of water in paddy rice cultivation. Organic materials from different sources have the potential to increase soil moisture storage and nutrient enrichment. An incubation study was conducted [...] Read more.
Increasing soil moisture storage capacity is a strategy that can be implemented to minimize the use of water in paddy rice cultivation. Organic materials from different sources have the potential to increase soil moisture storage and nutrient enrichment. An incubation study was conducted to evaluate the incorporation of five selected organic amendments—as follows: rice husk biochar (RHB), oil palm empty fruit bunch biochar (EFBB), compost (COMP), rice husk ash (RHA), and oil palm bunch ash (PBA), with a control (no amendment) on soil moisture storage and some chemical properties of soil. The soil was incubated with five amendments for 60 days and sampled at 15-day intervals. After completion of the incubation, a greater extent of gravimetric water content was observed from RHB (0.46 g g−1) and EFBB (0.45 g g−1) followed by compost (0.40 g g−1). The addition of organic amendments significantly influenced soil chemical properties. Maximum soil pH was altered by PBA followed by EFBB compared to its initial value (5.01). The inclusion of EFBB finally contributed to the highest amount of total carbon (7.82%) and nitrogen (0.44%). The addition of PBA showed the highest available P and exchangeable K followed by RHB when compared with the amendments. The results indicated that RHB, EFBB, and compost retain more soil moisture compared to ash sources and added soil nutrients, indicating their potential to improve the chemical and hydrological properties of paddy soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Poultry Litter Biochar Increases Mycorrhizal Colonisation, Soil Fertility and Cucumber Yield in a Fertigation System on Sandy Soil
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 480; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10100480 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1392
Abstract
There is a continuing argument about the benefits of biochar on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, crop growth, yield, and fertility of soil. There is also limited research on the effects of biochar on AM colonization, cucumber yield, and soil fertility improvement. Therefore, this [...] Read more.
There is a continuing argument about the benefits of biochar on arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, crop growth, yield, and fertility of soil. There is also limited research on the effects of biochar on AM colonization, cucumber yield, and soil fertility improvement. Therefore, this investigation aimed to determine the impact of poultry litter biochar (PLB) on colonization of roots by indigenous AM fungi in agricultural soil and their contribution to cucumber yield, nutrition, and soil fertility improvement. A field trial was conducted to assess the effect of PLB combined with compound poultry manure (CPM) and nitrophos (NP) fertilizer to investigate the response of treatments on nutrient-deficient sandy soils. Plant growth responses to biochar showed better plant growth and yield of cucumber. Application of biochar with and without CPM and NP reduced the negative impact of nutrient deficiency stress on cucumber growth. AM fungal colonization, soil fertility, and cucumber yield were improved with the combined application of biochar, CPM, and NP fertilizer. Post-harvest, soil C, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Zn, Cu, Fe, and Mn increased with application of biochar applied with CPM and NP. Biochar application with CPM and NP also increased the percent root colonization of cucumber. Use of biochar with CPM and NP has the potential to improve plant growth, yield, nutrient uptake, and soil fertility. Further studies in various agro-ecological conditions would help utilize this technology in sustainable crop production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Walnut Shell Biochar Increases Seed Germination and Early Growth of Seedlings of Fodder Crops
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 427; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10100427 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1303
Abstract
Currently, biochars are produced from a wide range of feedstocks with a broad diversity in physicochemical characteristics. Therefore, a diverse agronomic response of crop plants to biochars application was expected. A preliminary ecotoxicological assessment is necessary before application of biochar to soil, even [...] Read more.
Currently, biochars are produced from a wide range of feedstocks with a broad diversity in physicochemical characteristics. Therefore, a diverse agronomic response of crop plants to biochars application was expected. A preliminary ecotoxicological assessment is necessary before application of biochar to soil, even though biochar is a recalcitrant carbon considered as a promising soil amendment because of its ability to climate change mitigation by sequestration of carbon in the soil. Thus, a Petri dish germination test was conducted to assess the effects of six walnut shell biochar rates (i.e., 0, 10, 20, 40, 80, and 120 Mg ha−1) on seed germination and early growth of seedlings of fodder crops (Triticale cultivar X Triticasecale Wittmack and Pisum sativum sp. arvense L. varieties Taşkent and Özkaynak). A simple Petri dish bioassay method used to determine the effect of biochar rates on seed germination. Germination rate decreased with both higher and lower rate of biochar application. Results showed that the germination rate and growth indices were dependent on plant species. The seed germination rate of all three species was stimulated at the 40 Mg ha−1 rate, but Taşkent mung bean occurred at the highest rate of 120 Mg ha−1. Significantly higher germination rate and growth indices observed with the 40 and 80 Mg ha−1 biochar rates, respectively. Biochar application generally increased seed germination at rates ≤ 40 Mg ha−1 and seedling growth indices at rates ≤ 80 Mg ha−1. This rapid test can be used as the first indicator of biochar effects on seed germination rate and early growth of seedlings. Farmers could use this test before investing in biochar application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Effect of Water Quality and Date Palm Biochar on Evaporation and Specific Hydrological Characteristics of Sandy Soil
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 300; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10070300 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Experiments were conducted in a soil laboratory using transparent columns (5 and 40 cm in diameter and length, respectively) to evaluate the effects of water quality (i.e., fresh or saline water) with the addition of biochar on soil moisture characteristics. Soil and biochar [...] Read more.
Experiments were conducted in a soil laboratory using transparent columns (5 and 40 cm in diameter and length, respectively) to evaluate the effects of water quality (i.e., fresh or saline water) with the addition of biochar on soil moisture characteristics. Soil and biochar were gently combined and added into the top 10 cm of each column at a rate of 2%, 4%, 6%, and 8% (w/w). The results show a decrease in cumulative evaporation by 29.27%, 16.47%, 14.17%, and 14.61% with freshwater, and by 21.24%, 12.22%, 21.08%, and 12.67% with saline water for B1, B2, B3, and B4, respectively, compared with unamended soil (B1, B2, B3 and B4 represent the treatments with the biochar rate of 2, 4, 6, and 8%, respectively). Cumulative infiltration was reduced by 34.38%, 43.37%, 58.89%, and 57.07% with freshwater, and by 30.18%, 44.38%, 54.44%, and 49.11% with saline water for B1, B2, B3, and B4, respectively. The infiltration rate was reduced by 32.73%, 42.17%, 57.82%, and 56.85% with freshwater, and 42.09%, 54.61%, 62.68%, and 58.41% with saline water for T1, T2, T3, and T4, respectively, compared with the control. The saturated hydraulic conductivity of B1 decreased significantly by 92.8% and 67.72% with fresh and saline water, respectively. Biochar, as a soil conditioner, could be used in arid conditions with fresh and saline water to enhance the hydrological properties of sandy soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Nitrogen Recoveries and Nitrogen Use Efficiencies of Organic Fertilizers with Different C/N Ratios in Maize Cultivation with Low-Fertile Soil by 15N Method
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 272; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10070272 - 05 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
The rising cost of inorganic fertilizers, coupled with their adverse effects on soil conditions, has resulted in increasing interest in organic amendments. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of organic amendments (OAs) with different C/N ratios on nitrogen [...] Read more.
The rising cost of inorganic fertilizers, coupled with their adverse effects on soil conditions, has resulted in increasing interest in organic amendments. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of organic amendments (OAs) with different C/N ratios on nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and recovery rate, as well as on the growth and yield of Zea mays and soil properties. A precise pot experiment was conducted on a low-fertile, sandy-loam soil, and the dynamics of nitrogen (N) were also analyzed by the A-value method, using 15N tracer. The plant height of the treatment groups decreased in the following order: inorganic fertilizer (IF) = rapeseed waste (RW) > chicken manure (CnM) > bamboo tealeaf (BTL) > cow manure (CwM) > bamboo compost (BC). Furthermore, the maize fertilized with RW only took up half of the N in IF, despite producing the same yield, which indicates that the physiological nitrogen efficiency (PUE) of RW was twice as high as that of IF. RW and CnM were regarded as valuable fertilizers that could be used to replace inorganic fertilizers. A linear relationship between the N mineralization of the OAs was obtained by an incubation test and the pot experiments, estimating the effect of OA application on the maize. Maize plants mainly absorbed N derived from fertilizers; however, for the both sources of N (fertilizer and soil), N was mainly accumulated in grains followed by the leaves, stem, and root, suggesting that studies should be conducted to improve soil N use efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Short-Term Effects of Organic Amendments on Soil Properties and Maize (Zea maize L.) Growth
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050158 - 08 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1064
Abstract
In recent years, the application of biochar as soil amendment has generated a huge interest for the preservation of soil fertility by improving the physicochemical and biological properties of soil, and for the reduction of the negative effects of greenhouse emissions (climate-change adaptation). [...] Read more.
In recent years, the application of biochar as soil amendment has generated a huge interest for the preservation of soil fertility by improving the physicochemical and biological properties of soil, and for the reduction of the negative effects of greenhouse emissions (climate-change adaptation). In this study, we investigated the effect of three soil amendments, namely, biochars derived from wood (BC), solid digestate (SD), and biochar derived from solid digestate (BSD), on soil parameters and their influence in maize-growth performance. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse where organic amendments were applied to the soil control (C) at different application rates: 0%, 1%, 2%, and 3% w/w (equivalent at 0, 10, 20, and 30 t ha−1, respectively). The results indicated that all applications of organic amendments significantly enhanced soil parameters such as pH and electrical conductivity, while only BSD and SD showed a significant increase in secondary macro-(i.e., Ca, Mg) and micronutrient-element content (i.e., Na, Fe, Mn and Zn). The best maize performance (i.e., plant height, stem diameter, biomass dry weight, seed number, and weight per ear) was observed while using BSD, while plant growth in BC had reduced results, probably due to the low presence of elemental content and the relatively high volatile-matter (VM) content, which may have altered nitrogen dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Potentiality of Vermicomposting in the South Pacific Island Countries: A Review
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 876; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090876 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Incorporation of vermin culture in the composting system produces “vermicompost”, an enriched biofertilizer known to improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. It is applied in granular form and/or in liquid solution (vermiwash), and in both open fields and greenhouses. Vermicompost [...] Read more.
Incorporation of vermin culture in the composting system produces “vermicompost”, an enriched biofertilizer known to improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. It is applied in granular form and/or in liquid solution (vermiwash), and in both open fields and greenhouses. Vermicompost has been shown to contain plant growth hormones, which stimulate seed germination and improve crop yield, the ‘marketability’ of products, plant physiology, and their ability to fight against disease. In recent years, South Pacific island countries (SPICs) have placed an increasing emphasis on the importance of organic agricultural practices as a means of achieving more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. However, vermiculture is not practiced in South Pacific island countries (SPICs) largely due to the lack of awareness of this type of application. We consider the inclusion of vermiculture in this region as a potential means of achieving sustainable organic agricultural practices. This study represents a systematic review in which we collect relevant information on vermicomposting and analyze the applicability of this practice in the SPICs based on these nations’ physical, socioeconomic, and climatic conditions. The tropical climate of the SPICs means that they meet the combined requirements of a large available biomass for composting and the availability of earthworms. Perionyx excavatus and Pontoscolex corethrurus have been identified as potential native earthworm species for vermicomposting under the conditions of the SPICs. Eisenia fetida, a well-known earthworm species, is also effectively adapted to this region and reported to be an efficient species for commercial vermicomposting. However, as a new input into the local production system, there may be unforeseen barriers in the initial stages, as with other advanced technologies, and the introduction of vermiculture as a practice requires a steady effort and adaptive research to achieve success. Further experimental research is required to analyze the productivity and profitability of using the identified native earthworm species for vermiculture using locally available biomass in the SPICs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Review
Biochar with Alternate Wetting and Drying Irrigation: A Potential Technique for Paddy Soil Management
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 367; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11040367 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
Over half of the world’s population depends on rice for its calorie supply, although it consumes the highest amount of water compared to other major crops. To minimize this excess water usage, alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation practice is considered as an [...] Read more.
Over half of the world’s population depends on rice for its calorie supply, although it consumes the highest amount of water compared to other major crops. To minimize this excess water usage, alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation practice is considered as an efficient technique in which soil intermittently dried during the growing period of rice by maintaining yield compared to a flooded system. Continuous AWD may result in poor soil health caused by carbon loss, nutrient depletion, cracking, and affecting soil physical properties. Due to being a potential organic amendment, biochar has a great scope to overcome these problems by improving soil’s physicochemical properties. Biochar is a carbon enriched highly porous material and characterized by several functional groups on its large surface area and full of nutrients. However, biochar’s implication for sustaining soil physicochemical and water retention properties in the AWD irrigation systems has not been widely discussed. This paper reviews the adverse impacts of AWD irrigation on soil structure and C, N depletion; the potential of biochar to mitigate this problem and recovering soil productivity; its influence on improving soil physical properties and moisture retention; and the scope of future study. This review opined that biochar efficiently retains nutrients and supplies as a slow-release fertilizer, which may restrict preferential nutrient loss through soil cracks under AWD. It also improves soil’s physical properties, slows cracking during drying cycles, and enhances water retention by storing moisture within its internal pores. However, long-term field studies are scarce; additionally, economic evaluation is required to confirm the extent of biochar impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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