Biochar shifts biomass and element allocation of legume-grass mixtures in Cd-contaminated soils

  • Yan XiaoEmail author
  • Leqi Wang
  • Zhuojun Zhao
  • Yeye Che
Research Article


Biochar amendments have been considered to increase the competitive abilities of legumes in mixed cultures. However, little is known about how biochar affects the nutrient and Cd allocation within legume-grass mixtures. Therefore, we conducted a pot experiment to explore the effects of biochar addition rate (0, 1, 2.5, and 5%) on four monocultures, the legume Trifolium repens (Tr), Lolium perenne (Lp), Dactylis glomerata (Dg) and Festuca arundinacea (Fa), and three mixed cultures, i.e., Tr + Lp, Tr + Lp + Dg, and Tr + Lp + Dg + Fa. Regardless of biochar addition, Tr plants showed the lowest aboveground Cd concentration among the monoculture treatments. Compared with non-biochar addition treatment, the 1% biochar addition significantly promoted aboveground biomass accumulation and P, K, Ca, and Mg uptake in the aboveground parts of the Tr monoculture treatments by 39.32, 39.88, 88.27, 69.68, and 51.96%, respectively. Nevertheless, the aboveground biomass and P, K, Ca, and Mg uptake as well as the proportion of these parameters in Tr plants in all plant species mixture treatments decreased after biochar application. Maximum aboveground P and Mg uptake occurred in the four-species mixture treatments without biochar addition, whereas maximum values of these parameters occurred in the three-species mixture treatments with 5% biochar addition. Shoot Cd uptake was not decreased by biochar addition at all plant species treatments. Based on the results, it was suggested that biochar could not reduce Cd uptake by increasing the proportion of legumes in the legume-grass mixtures. The complementarity effects on nutrient uptake in the plant species mixtures depended on the amount of biochar added.


Biochar Diversity Mixture culture, cadmium pollution Legume 


Funding information

This research was supported by the earmarked fund for China Agriculture Research System (CARS-34), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20171378) and the Jiangsu Overseas Visiting Scholar Program for University Prominent Young & Middle-aged Teachers and Presidents.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_7357_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 5.71 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Agro-grassland ScienceNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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