Plant and Soil

, Volume 431, Issue 1–2, pp 257–272 | Cite as

Effect of different biochars on phosphorus (P) dynamics in the rhizosphere of Zea mays L. (maize)

  • Marie Louise BornøEmail author
  • Joseph Osafo Eduah
  • Dorette Sophie Müller-Stöver
  • Fulai Liu
Regular Article



To investigate the effects of biochar on biological and chemical phosphorus (P) processes and identify potential interactive effects between P fertilizer and biochar on P bioavailability in the rhizosphere of maize.


We conducted a pot-experiment with maize in a sandy loam soil with two fertilizer levels (0 and 100 mg P kg −1) and three biochars produced from soft wood (SW), rice husk (RH) and oil seed rape (OSR). Sequential P fractionation was performed on biochar, bulk soil, and rhizosphere soil samples. Acid and alkaline phosphatase activity and root exudates of citrate, glucose, fructose, and sucrose in the rhizosphere were determined.


RH and OSR increased readily available soil P, whereas SW had no effect. However, over time available P from the biochars moved to less available P pools (Al-P and Fe-P). There were no interactive effects between P fertilizer and biochar on P bioavailability. Exudates of glucose and fructose were strongly affected by especially RH, whereas sucrose was mostly affected by P fertilizer. Alkaline phosphatase activity was positively correlated with pH, and citrate was positively correlated with readily available P.


Biochar effects on biological and chemical P processes in the rhizosphere are driven by biochar properties.


Biochar Phosphorus fractionation Root exudates Phosphatase activity Rhizosphere processes 



We would like to acknowledge the UK Biochar Research Center (UKBRC), University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences, UK, for providing the standard biochars used in this study. We would like to thank Dr. Tonci Balic Zunic for conducting the XRD analysis, Laboratory Technician Lena Asta Byrgesen for conducting the digestions and ICP analysis, and Laboratory Technician Lene Korsholm for helping with the ion chromatography measurements. We highly acknowledge Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research (SDC) for supporting Marie Louise Bornø in her pursuit of the Ph.D. degree and for funding this research.

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3762_MOESM1_ESM.docx (76 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 75 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Section for Crop SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenTåstrupDenmark
  2. 2.Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research (SDC)University of Chinese Academy of SciencesHuairou district BeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource ManagementUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Soil Science, School of AgricultureUniversity of GhanaLegonGhana
  5. 5.Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Section for Plant and Soil SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksbergDenmark

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