Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 356–365 | Cite as

Bacterial community structure shifts induced by biochar amendment to karst calcareous soil in southwestern areas of China

  • Zhidong Zhou
  • Taotao Yan
  • Qian Zhu
  • Xiaoli Bu
  • Bin Chen
  • Jianhui Xue
  • Yongbo Wu
Soils, Sec 5 • Soil and Landscape Ecology • Research Article



Biochar as a promising soil amendment is poorly explored on the coarse and infertile karst soils in the ecological restoration region. The aim of this study is to ameliorate soil microbial and nutrient conditions in karst areas of southwestern China based on biochar’s soil amendment potential.

Materials and methods

A pot experiment with black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) was conducted to test the effects of the biochar amendment (i.e., with five loads as follows: 0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4% mass ratio of biochar to soil) on the soil enzyme activities, soil pH, nutrient content as well as the bacterial community diversity and composition.

Results and discussion

Our results showed that the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous contents in the soil microbial biomass increased with the biochar addition rate. Soil enzyme activities, soil nutrient content, and pH increased after biochar addition and exhibited highest values at higher biochar treatment (2 and 4% loads). Biochar addition had no effects on the soil bacterial richness (according to the Chao1 index) and diversity (Shannon and Simpson indices). Treatments with higher biochar addition rates (2 and 4% loads) had distinct bacterial groups compared to the lower ones (0, 0.5, and 1% loads) both at the phylum and genus taxonomic levels. Biochar addition significantly increased the relative abundance of phylum Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Chloroflexi. Moreover, the soil enzyme activity and microbial biomass were strongly correlated with some specific microorganisms.


In conclusion, this study demonstrated that the addition of biochar changed the soil bacterial community structure in calcareous karst soil.


Bacterial community structure Biochar Karst Soil enzyme activity Soil microbial biomass 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Major State Basic Research Development Program of China [grant number 2016YFC0502605], the 12th Five-Year national technology supporting plan [grant number 2015BAD07B0404], A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions [grant number PAPD], and Supported by the Doctorate Fellowship Foundation of Nanjing Forestry University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhidong Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Taotao Yan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qian Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaoli Bu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bin Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jianhui Xue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yongbo Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern ChinaNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Biology and the EnvironmentNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina

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