Effects of biochar and biochar with nitrogen on soil organic matter and soil structure in haplic Luvisol

Vladimír Šimanský


Received: 2016-06-08 | Accepted: 2016-10-26 | Available online: 2016-12-22

An experiment of different application rates of biochar and biochar combined with nitrogen fertilizer was conducted at the newly
established experimental field (spring 2014) on a Haplic Luvisol located in Nitra region of Slovakia during the growing season of
spring barley. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of biochar combined with fertilization on the soil organic matter
and soil structure parameters. The treatments (3 replicates) consisted of 0, 10 and 20 t ha-1 of biochar application (B0, B10 and
B20) combined with 0, 40 and 80 kg ha-1 of nitrogen fertilizer applied (N0, N40, N80). The results showed that the effect of biochar
application without N fertilization significantly decreased the easily extractable glomalin in B10N0 and B20N0 compared to B0N0,
respectively. The same effects were observed in B10N40 and B10N80. The soil organic matter (SOM) was rapidly degradable by
micro-organisms (on the base of lability index values) in B10N0 treatment and the SOM had greater stability and resistance to
microbial degradation in B10N80 treatment. Added N fertilization in both doses together with 10 t biochar ha-1 had statistical
significant influence on decreasing of lability index values. The highest accumulation of carbon occurred in B20N0 treatment.
The addition of biochar at 10 t ha-1 together with 80 kg ha-1 N significantly increased values of carbon pool index (24%) compared
to B10N0. Generally, the highest average content of macro-aggregates was found in the B20N0 treatment and then in B20N80 >
B10N0 > B0N0 > B10N80 > B10N40 > B20N40. Treatment B10N0 showed robust increase (by 53%) for the macro-aggregates of >
7 mm, but on the other hand it decreased content of macro-aggregates 3–1 mm compared to B0N0. A considerable increase of
aggregates stability was found in range of 19% in case of 20 t ha-1 of biochar application combined with 80 kg ha-1 N compared to
B0N0. A positive effect on decrease of percentage of aggregate destruction was found only in case of B20N80 treatment compared
to B0N0.

Keywords: biochar, N fertilization, carbon pool index, percentage of aggregate destruction, aggregate stability


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