Plant and Soil

, Volume 375, Issue 1–2, pp 61–74 | Cite as

The fate of phosphorus of ash-rich biochars in a soil-plant system

  • Tao WangEmail author
  • Marta Camps-Arbestain
  • Mike Hedley
Regular Article



The objectives were to investigate (i) the forms and release pattern of P from an ash-rich biochar-amended sandy soil; (ii) the transformation of biochar P in a soil-plant system.


Several methodologies (a bioassay test, soluble P extractions, a sequential P fractionation and successive P extractions via resin strips) were used to study the bioavailability and transformation of P in a sandy soil fertilised with either conventional P fertilisers [Ca(H2PO4)2 (CaP) and Sechura phosphate rock (SPR)] or biochars produced from cattle manure (MAe) and alum-treated biosolids (BSe) at four temperatures (250, 350, 450, and 550 °C).


Biochar P mainly contributed to increase soil resin-extractable P- and inorganic NaOH-extractable P-fractions, and thus to plant available P. The decrease in P concentrations of those fractions was caused by the uptake of P by plants rather than their transformations into more stable forms. P release rates diminished following the order: CaP > MAe > BSe > SPR, which indicates a decline in P availability from these P sources.


Phosphorus-rich biochar can be used as a slow-release fertiliser. It is necessary to determine available P (either soil or fertiliser tests) in biochars prior to its application to soil, so that dose, frequency and timing of application are correctly established.


P fractionation Biochar Bioavailability Transformation 



The authors acknowledge T. Maruyama for assistance in soil P tests; Dr J. Hanly provided the manure sample; Dr. P. Bishop helped to set up the pyrolyser; Palmerston North City Council supplied the biosolids; the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry New Zealand (MAF) funded the research; and Massey University funded a fellowship for T.W.

Supplementary material

11104_2013_1938_MOESM1_ESM.docx (227 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 227 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New Zealand Biochar Research CentreMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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