Biochar suppresses N2O emissions and alters microbial communities in an acidic tea soil

  • Ningguo Zheng
  • Yongxiang Yu
  • Wei ShiEmail author
  • Huaiying YaoEmail author
Research Article


Biochar has been considered as a promising soil amendment for improving fertility and mitigating N2O emission from the arable land. However, biochar’s effectiveness in acidic tea soil and underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We conducted a short-term microcosm experiment using two biochars (1% w/w, LB, generated from legume and NLB, non-legume biomass, respectively) to investigate the effects of biochar amendments on soil chemical properties, N2O emission, and microbial community in an acidic soil. Soil and headspace gas samples were taken on 1, 10, and 30 day’s incubation. Biochar amendment increased soil pH and DOC, however, significantly reduced soil inorganic N. Both biochars at ~ 1% addition had little effect on microbial CO2 respiration but suppressed soil N2O emission by ~ 40% during the incubation. The divergence in N2O efflux rates between soils with and without biochar addition aligned to some degree with changes in soil pH, inorganic N, and dissolved organic C (DOC). We also found that biochar addition significantly modified the fungal community structure, in particular the relative abundance of members of Ascomycota, but not the bacterial community. Furthermore, the copy number of nosZ, the gene encoding N2O reductase, was significantly greater in biochar-amended soils than the soil alone. Our findings contribute to better understanding of the impact of biochar on the soil chemical properties, soil N2O emission, and microbial community and the consequences of soil biochar amendment for improving the health of acidic tea soil.


Biochar N2O emission Tea plantation Microbial community Acidic soil Denitrification 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41525002, 41701282, and 41761134085), the Strategic Priority Program of the Chinese Academy of Science (Grant No. XDB15020300), the National Ten-Thousand Talents Program of China (201829), and the Two-Hundred Talents Plan of Fujian Province, China (2018A12).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6704_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 6831 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Urban Environmental Processes and Pollution Control, Ningbo Urban Environment Observation and Research Station-NUEORSChinese Academy of SciencesNingboPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Research Center for Environmental Ecology and Engineering, School of Environmental Ecology and Biological EngineeringWuhan Institute of TechnologyWuhanChina
  5. 5.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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