Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 77–87 | Cite as

The effects of combinations of biochar, lime, and organic fertilizer on nitrification and nitrifiers

  • Kaile Zhang
  • Lin Chen
  • Yong Li
  • Philip C. Brookes
  • Jianming Xu
  • Yu LuoEmail author
Original Paper


Here, we report results from a field experiment investigating the application of biochars, lime, organic fertilizer, and their combinations. Soil pH was increased by ameliorants. Wheat biochar produced the largest increase, of approximately 2 pH units, and mixed treatment (one third rice husk biochar, one third lime, and one third organic fertilizer) also caused large increases, of almost 1 pH unit. There was strong evidence that the ratio of ammonia-oxidizing archaea to ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) abundance greatly increased with decreased soil pH, indicating that soil pH was an important factor affecting the abundance of AOB. High-throughput MiSeq sequencing showed that the soil ameliorants significantly increased the relative abundances of Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira. Soil pH was an important determinant of the bacterial community composition and diversity. Our study suggests that the ameliorants (biochar, lime, organic fertilizer, and their combinations) change soil nitrification by altering nitrifying bacteria abundance, diversity, and composition, caused by the changed soil pH.


Nitrification Bacteria Archaea Ameliorants Acid soil High-throughput sequencing 



This study was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB441002), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41301250), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Supplementary material

374_2016_1154_MOESM1_ESM.docx (875 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 874 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaile Zhang
    • 1
  • Lin Chen
    • 2
  • Yong Li
    • 1
  • Philip C. Brookes
    • 1
  • Jianming Xu
    • 1
  • Yu Luo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Soil & Water Resources and Environmental Science, College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Agricultural Resources and EnvironmentZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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