Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 261–270 | Cite as

Rice husk biochar and crop residue amendment in subtropical cropping soils: effect on biomass production, nitrogen use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions

  • Dai H. Nguyen
  • Clemens Scheer
  • David W. Rowlings
  • Peter R. Grace
Original Paper

Abstract

We investigated the effect of maize residues and rice husk biochar on biomass production, fertiliser nitrogen recovery (FNR) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions for three different subtropical cropping soils. Maize residues at two rates (0 and 10 t ha−1) combined with three rates (0, 15 and 30 t ha-1) of rice husk biochar were added to three soil types in a pot trial with maize plants. Soil N2O emissions were monitored with static chambers for 91 days. Isotopic 15N-labelled urea was applied to the treatments without added crop residues to measure the FNR. Crop residue incorporation significantly reduced N uptake in all treatments but did not affect overall FNR. Rice husk biochar amendment had no effect on plant growth and N uptake but significantly reduced N2O and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in two of the three soils. The incorporation of crop residues had a contrasting effect on soil N2O emissions depending on the mineral N status of the soil. The study shows that effects of crop residues depend on soil properties at the time of application. Adding crop residues with a high C/N ratio to soil can immobilise N in the soil profile and hence reduce N uptake and/or total biomass production. Crop residue incorporation can either stimulate or reduce N2O emissions depending on the mineral N content of the soil. Crop residues pyrolysed to biochar can potentially stabilise native soil C (negative priming) and reduce N2O emissions from cropping soils thus providing climate change mitigation potential beyond the biochar C storage in soils. Incorporation of crop residues as an approach to recycle organic materials and reduce synthetic N fertiliser use in agricultural production requires a thorough evaluation, both in terms of biomass production and greenhouse gas emissions.

Keywords

Crop residues Greenhouse gas N2Nitrogen fertiliser recovery Rice husk biochar 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank L. Trevaskis, C. Lhomer and F. Aliaga for the experimental setup, and S. Russell, A. Strazzabosco, D. Warner and J. Friedl for their analytical supports. We also thank Mr. J. Sneesby (NSW) and Mr. R. Skopp (QLD) for allowing us to collect soils for the experiment in their farm. We also thank VIED-QUT for providing the scholarship. Some of the data reported in this paper were obtained at the Central Analytical Research Facility operated by the Institute for Future Environments (QUT).

References

  1. Alexander M (1977) Introduction to soil microbiology. John Wiley and Sons, NY, Chichester, Brisbane, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  2. Asai H, Samson KB, Stephaan MH, Songyikhangsuthor K, Homma K, Kiyono Y (2009) Biochar amendment techniques for upland rice production in Northern Laos 1. Soil physical properties, leaf APAD and grain yield. Field Crops Res 111:81–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baggs EM, Stevens M, Pihlatie M, Regar A, Cook H, Cadisch G (2003) Nitrous oxide emissions following application of residues and fertiliser under zero and conventional tillage. Plant Soil 254:361–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bellarby J, Foereid B, Hastings A (2008) Cool farming: climate impacts ofagriculture and mitigation potential. GreenPeace International Ottho, Amsterdam, the NetherlandGoogle Scholar
  5. Blackwell P, Rietmuller G, Collin M (2009) Biochar Application to Soil. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environmental management: science and technology. Earthscan, London, UK, pp 207–226Google Scholar
  6. Broadbent FE, Carlton AB (1978) Field Trials with Isotopically Labelled Nitrogen Fertilizer. In: Nielsen DR, Macdonlad JG (eds) Nitrogen in the Environment. 1. Nitrogen Behaviour in Field Soil. Academic Press, New York, pp 1–41Google Scholar
  7. Bronson KF, Touchton JT, Hauck RD, Kelley KR (1991) Nitrogen-15 recovery in winter wheat as affected by application timing and dicyandiamide. Soil Sci Soc Am J 55:130–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chan KY, Lv Z, Meszaros I, Downie A, Joseph S (2007) Agronomic value of greenwaste biochar as a soil amendment. Soil Res 45:629–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chan KY, Zwieten LV, Meszaros I, Downie A, Joseph S (2008) Using poultry litter biochars as soil amendments. Soil Res 46:437–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen H, Li X, Hu F, Shi W (2013) Soil nitrous oxide emissions following crop residue addition: a meta-analysis. Glob Chang Biol 19:2956–2964. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12274 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Clough TJ, Bertram JE, Ray JL, Condron LM, O’Callaghan M, Sherlock RR, Wells NS (2010) Unweathered wood biochar impact on nitrous oxide emissions from a bovine-urine-amended pasture. Soil Sci Soc Am J 74:852–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Downie A, Crosky A, Munroe P (2009) Physical property of biochar. In: Lehmann J, Joseph S (eds) Biochar for environment management: science and technology. Earthscan, London, UK, pp 13–32Google Scholar
  13. Garcia Y (undated) Growing maize for silage - a guide for farmers. http://www.futuredairy.com.au/media/GrowingMaizeforsilage.pdf. Accessed 2 August 2011
  14. Hofman G, Van Cleemput O (2004) Soil and plant nitrogen. International Fertilizer Industry Association, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  15. Iswaran V, Jauhri KS, Sen A (1980) Effect of charcoal, coal and peat on the yield of moong, soybean and pea. Soil Biol Biochem 12:191–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Karhu K, Mattila T, Bergström I, Regina K (2011) Biochar addition to agricultural soil increased CH4 uptake and water holding capacity—results from a short-term pilot field study. Agr Ecosyst Environ 140:309–313. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2010.12.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kimetu JM et al (2008) Reversibility of soil productivity decline with organic matter of differing quality along a degradation gradient. Ecosystems 11:726–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kirda C, Derici MR, Schepers JS (2001) Yield response and N-fertiliser recovery of rainfed wheat growing in the Mediterranean region. Field Crops Res 71:113–122, doi:PII: S0378-4290(01)00153-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kishimoto S, Sugiura G (1985) Charcoal as a soil conditioner. Int Achieve Future 5:12–23Google Scholar
  20. Lal R (1997) Residue management, conservation tillage and soil restoration for mitigating greenhouse effect by CO2-enrichment. Soil Till Res 43:81–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lal R (2005) World crop residues production and implications of its use as a biofuel. Environ Int 31:575–584CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Lehmann J (2007) A handful of carbon. Nature 447:143–144CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Lehmann J, Gaunt J, Rondon M (2006) Bio-char sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems—a review. Mitigation Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 11:395–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lehmann J, Rillig MC, Thies J, Masiello CA, Hockaday WC, Crowley D (2011) Biochar effects on soil biota—a review. Soil Biol Biochem 43:1812–1836. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.04.022 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lehtinen T et al. (2014) Effect of crop residue incorporation on soil organic carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in European agricultural soils. Soil Use Manage 30:524–538 doi:doi:  10.1111/sum.12151
  26. Liu Y, Yang M, Wu Y, Wang H, Chen Y, Wu W (2011) Reducing CH4 and CO2 emission from waterlogged paddy soil with biochar. J Soils Sediments 11:930–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Major J, Rondon M, Molina D, Riha SJ, Lehmann J (2010) Maize yield and nutrition during 4 years after biochar application to a Colombian savanna oxisol. Plant Soil 333:117–128. doi: 10.1007/s11104-010-0327-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Muhammad W, Vaughan SM, Dalal RC, Menzies NW (2011) Crop residues and fertilizer nitrogen influence residue decomposition and nitrous oxide emission from a Vertisol. Biol Fertil Soils 47:15–23. doi: 10.1007/s00374-010-0497-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nguyen DH, Biala J, Grace PR, Scheer C, Rowlings DW (2014) Greenhouse gas emissions from sub-tropical agricultural soils through addition of organic by-products. Springer Plus 3:491. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-491 PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Pereira EIP, Suddick EC, Mukome FN, Parikh SJ, Scow K, Six J (2015) Biochar alters nitrogen transformations but has minimal effects on nitrous oxide emissions in an organically managed lettuce mesocosm. Biol Fertil Soils 51:573–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. R Development Core Team (2008) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. http://www.R-project.org.
  32. Ravishankara AR, Daniel JS, Portmann RW (2009) Nitrous oxide (N2O): the dominant ozone-depleting substance emitted in the 21st century. Science 326:123–125. doi: 10.1126/science.1176985 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Rondon M, Lehmann J, Ramirez J, Hurtado M (2007) Biological nitrogen fixation by common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) increases with bio-char additions. Bio Fertil Soils 43:699–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rondon M, Ramirez JA, Lehmann J Greenhouse gas emissions decrease with charcoal additions to tropical soils. In: Proceedings of 3rd USDA Symposium on Greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration in Agriculture and forestry, Baltimore, MD, USA, 2005.Google Scholar
  35. Scheer C, Grace PR, Rowlings DW, Kimber S, Van Zwieten L (2011) Effect of biochar amendment on the soil-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases from an intensive subtropical pasture in northern New South Wales, Australia. Plant Soil 345:47–58. doi: 10.1007/s11104-011-0759-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Scheer C, Rowlings DW, Firrel M, Deuter P, Morris S, Grace PR (2014) Impact of nitrification inhibitor (DMPP) on soil nitrous oxide emissions from an intensive broccoli production system in sub-tropical Australia. Soil Biol Biochem 77:243–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Singh BP, Hatton B, Singh B, Cowie A, Kathuria A (2010a) Influence of biochar on nitrous oxide emissions and nitrogen leaching from two contrasting soils. J Environ Qual 39:1224–1235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Singh BP, Hatton BJ, Singh B, Cowie AL The role of biochar in reducing nitrous oxide emissions and nitrogen leaching. In: Gilkes R, Prakongkep N (eds) The 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for Changing World, Brisbane, Australia, Aug 1–6, 2010 2010b. IUSS, pp 257–259Google Scholar
  39. Singla A, Iwasa H, Inubushi K (2014) Effect of biogas digested slurry based-biochar and digested liquid on N2O, CO2 flux and crop yield for three continuous cropping cycles of komatsuna (Brassica rapa var. perviridis). Biol Fertil Soils 50:1201–1209. doi: 10.1007/s00374-014-0950-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith P et al (2007) Agriculture. In: Metz B, Davidson OR, Bosch PR, Dave R, Meyer LA (eds) Climate change 2007: mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom and New York NY, USAGoogle Scholar
  41. Song Y, Zhang X, Ma B, Chang SX, Gong J (2014) Biochar addition affected the dynamics of ammonia oxidizers and nitrification in microcosms of a coastal alkaline soil. Biol Fertil Soils 50:321–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Spokas KA, Koskinen WC, Baker JM, Reicosky DC (2009) Impacts of woodchip biochar additions on greenhouse gas production and sorption/degradation of two herbicides in a Minnesota soil. Chemosphere 77:574–581CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Steiner C, Teixeira WG, Lehmann J, Nehls T, de Macedo JLV, Blum WEH WZ (2007) Long term effects of manure, charcoal and mineral fertilization on crop production and fertility on a highly weathered Central Amazonian upland soil. Plant Soil 291:275–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Suddick EC, Six J (2013) An estimation of annual nitrous oxide emissions and soil quality following the amendment of high temperature walnut shell biochar and compost to a small scale vegetable crop rotation. Sci Total Environ 465:298–307CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. van Zwieten L et al (2010a) Effects of biochar from slow pyrolysis of papermill waste on agronomic performance and soil fertility. Plant Soil 327:235–246. doi: 10.007/s11104-009-0050-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. van Zwieten L, Kimber S, Morris S, Downie A, Berger E, Rust J (2010b) Influence of biochar on flux of N2O and CO2 from Ferrosol. Soil Res 48:555–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Velthof GL, Kuikman PJ, Oenema O (2002) Nitrous oxide emission from soil amended with crop residues. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyt 62:249–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang J, Pan X, Liu Y, Zhang X, Xiong Z (2012) Effects of biochar amendment in two soils on greenhouse gas emissions and crop production. Plant Soil 360:287–298. doi: 10.1007/s11104-012-1250-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wang J, Yang M, Xiong Z, Liu P, Pan G (2011) Effects of biochar addition on N2O and CO2 emission from two paddy soils. Biol Fertil Soils 51:125–134Google Scholar
  50. Wardle DA, Zackrisson O, Nilsson MC (1998) The charcoal effect in boreal forest: mechanisms and ecological consequences. Oecol 115:419–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weier KL (1999) N2O and CH4 emission and CH4 consumption in a sugarcane soil after variation in nitrogen and water application. Soil Biol Biochem 31:1931–1941CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yamato M, Okimori Y, Wibowo IF, Anshori S, Ogawa M (2006) Effects of the application of charred bark of Acacia mangium on the yield of maize, cowpea and peanut, and soil chemical properties in South Sumatra, Indonesia. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 52:489–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yanai Y, Toyota K, Okayaki M (2007) Effects of charcoal addition on N2O emission from soil resulting from rewetting air-dried soil in short-term laboratory experiments. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 53:181–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zhang A, Liu Y, Pan G, Hussain Q, Li L, Zheng J, Zhang X (2012) Effect of biochar amendment on maize yield and greenhouse gas emissions from a soil organic carbon poor calcareous loamy soil from Central China. Plain Plant Soil 351:263, 10.1007/s11104-011-0957-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhang AF et al (2010) Effect of biochar amendment on yield and methane and nitrous oxide emissions from a rice paddy from Tai Lake Plain China. Agr Ecosyst Environ 139:469–475. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2010.09.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zimmerman AR, Gao M, MY A (2011) Positive and negative carbon mineralization priming effects among a variety of biochar-amended soils. Soil Biol Biochem 43:1169–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dai H. Nguyen
    • 1
  • Clemens Scheer
    • 1
  • David W. Rowlings
    • 1
  • Peter R. Grace
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Future EnvironmentsQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations