Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 621–631 | Cite as

Interactive effects of biochar and polyacrylamide on decomposition of maize rhizodeposits: implications from 14C labeling and microbial metabolic quotient

  • Yasser Mahmoud Awad
  • Johanna Pausch
  • Yong Sik Ok
  • Yakov Kuzyakov
Biochar for a Sustainable Environment



The applications of biochar (BC) and polyacrylamide (PAM) may have interactive effects on carbon (C) dynamics and sequestration for improving the soil quality and achieving sustainable agriculture. Relative to BC and PAM, rhizodeposits act as C and energy source for microorganisms and may change the mineralization dynamics of soil organic matter (SOM). No attempt has been made to assess the effects of BC, anionic PAM, or their combination on the decomposition of different aged 14C-labeled rhizodeposits. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of the treatments mentioned above on the decomposition of different aged 14C-labeled maize rhizodeposits.

Materials and methods

biochar (BC) at 10 Mg ha−1 or anionic PAM at 80 kg ha−1 or their combination (BC + PAM) was applied to soils with/without 2-, 4-, 8-, and 16-day-aged 14C-labeled maize rhizodeposits. After that, the soil was incubated at 22 °C for 46 days.

Results and discussion

After 2 days of incubation, the total CO2 efflux rates from the soil with rhizodeposits were 1.4–1.8 times higher than those from the soil without rhizodeposits. The cumulative 14CO2 efflux (32 % of the 14C input) was maximal for the soil containing 2-day-aged 14C-labeled rhizodeposits. Consequently, 2-day-aged rhizodeposits were more easily and rapidly decomposed than the older rhizodeposits. However, no differences in the total respired 14CO2 from rhizodeposits were observed at the end of the incubation. Incorporation of 14C into microbial biomass and 66–85 % of the 14C input remained in the soil after 46 days indicated that neither the age of 14C-labeled rhizodeposits nor BC, PAM, or BC + PAM changed microbial utilization of rhizodeposits.


Applying BC or BC + PAM to soil exerted only minor effects on the decomposition of rhizodeposits. The contribution of rhizodeposits to CO2 efflux from soil and MBC depends on their age as young rhizodeposits contain more labile C, which is easily available for microbial uptake and utilization.


Biochar Decomposition of rhizodeposits Soil organic matter Polyacrylamide Responsible editor: Yu Luo 



This work was carried out with the support of the “Cooperative Research Program for Agricultural Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ010182042014),” Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea. This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2012R1A1B3001409).

Supplementary material

11368_2016_1576_MOESM1_ESM.doc (377 kb)
Esm 1 (DOC 377 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Biochar Research Center and School of Natural Resource and Environmental SciencesKangwon National UniversityChuncheonSouth Korea
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureSuez Canal UniversityIsmailiaEgypt
  3. 3.Department of Soil Science of Temperate EcosystemsUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Agricultural Soil ScienceUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Environmental SciencesKazan Federal UniversityKazanRussia

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