, Volume 370, Issue 1-2, pp 527-540
Date: 26 Feb 2013

Impact of biochar application on nitrogen nutrition of rice, greenhouse-gas emissions and soil organic carbon dynamics in two paddy soils of China

Abstract

Aims

Two field microcosm experiments and 15N labeling techniques were used to investigate the effects of biochar addition on rice N nutrition and GHG emissions in an Inceptisol and an Ultisol.

Methods

Biochar N bioavailability and effect of biochar on fertilizer nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) were studied by 15N-enriched wheat biochar (7.8803 atom% 15N) and fertilizer urea (5.0026 atom% 15N) (Experiment I). Corn biochar and corn stalks were applied at 12 Mg ha−1 to study their effects on GHG emissions (Experiment II).

Results

Biochar had no significant impact on rice production and less than 2 % of the biochar N was available to plants in the first season. Biochar addition increased soil C and N contents and decreased urea NUE. Seasonal cumulative CH4 emissions with biochar were similar to the controls, but significantly lower than the local practice of straw amendment. N2O emissions with biochar were similar to the control in the acidic Ultisol, but significantly higher in the slightly alkaline Inceptisol. Carbon-balance calculations found no major losses of biochar-C.

Conclusion

Low bio-availability of biochar N did not make a significantly impact on rice production or N nutrition during the first year. Replacement of straw amendments with biochar could decrease CH4 emissions and increase SOC stocks.

Responsible Editor: Per Ambus.
Zubin Xie, Yanping Xu and Shuijin Hu contributed the same to the paper.