Impact of Biochar Enriched with Dairy Manure Effluent on Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics

Sarkhot, D. V. and Berhe, A. A. and Ghezzehei, T. A.

Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 41(4), pp. 1107-1114 , 2012.

Abstract

Amending soils with biochar can have multiple environmental benefits, including improvement in soil physicochemical properties, carbon sequestration, reduction in leaching losses of essential nutrients, and reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This study was conducted to determine the effect of enriched biochar amendments on leaching losses of essential nutrients and GHG emissions from soil. The enriched biochar was prepared by shaking biochar with dairy manure effluent for 24 h, which increased the C and N concentration of biochar by 9.3 and 8.3%, respectively. Incubation and leaching experiments were conducted for 8 wk with three treatments: soil, soil + 1% biochar, and soil + 1% enriched biochar. Amendment with biochar and enriched biochar relative to unamended soil resulted in 68 and 75% reduction in net nitrification, 221 and 229% reduction in net ammonification, 67 and 68% reduction in cumulative CO2 flux, respectively, and 26% reduction in cumulative N2O flux for both biochar treatments. There were no significant differences among treatments in total leaching losses of C, N, and base cations. Our findings suggest that enrichment of biochar with dairy manure effluent can promote C and N storage in soil and provide additional environmental benefits.