Pyrolysing poultry litter reduces N2O and CO2 fluxes

Van Zwieten, L., Kimber, S.W.L., Morris, S.G., Singh, B.P., Grace, P.R., Scheer, C., Rust, J., Downie, A.E., & Cowie, A.L. (2013) Pyrolysing poultry litter reduces N2O and CO2 fluxes. Science of The Total Environment, 465, pp. 279-287.

View at publisher


Application of poultry litter (PL) to soil can lead to substantial nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions due to the co-application of labile carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Slow pyrolysis of PL to produce biochar may mitigate N2O emissions from this source, whilst still providing agronomic benefits. In a corn crop on ferrosol with similarly matched available N inputs of ca. 116 kg N/ha, PL-biochar plus urea emitted significantly less N2O (1.5 kg N2O-N/ha) compared to raw PL at 4.9 kg N2O-N/ha. Urea amendment without the PL-biochar emitted 1.2 kg N2O-N/ha, and the PL-biochar alone emitted only 0.35 kg N2O-N/ha. Both PL and PL-biochar resulted in similar corn yields and total N uptake which was significantly greater than for urea alone. Using stable isotope methodology, the majority (~ 80%) of N2O emissions were shown to be from non-urea sources. Amendment with raw PL significantly increased C mineralisation and the quantity of permanganate oxidisable organic C. The low molar H/C (0.49) and O/C (0.16) ratios of the PL-biochar suggest its higher stability in soil than raw PL. The PL-biochar also had higher P and K fertiliser value than raw PL. This study suggests that PL-biochar is a valuable soil amendment with the potential to significantly reduce emissions of soil greenhouse gases compared to the raw product. Contrary to other studies, PL-biochar incorporated to 100 mm did not reduce N2O emissions from surface applied urea, which suggests that further field evaluation of biochar impacts, and methods of application of both biochar and fertiliser, are needed.

Impact and interest:

28 citations in Scopus
25 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 62687
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Biochar, C mineralisation, Crop productivity, Ferrosol, Nitrous oxide, Poultry litter
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.02.054
ISSN: 00489697
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Past > Institutes > Institute for Sustainable Resources
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2013 23:12
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2013 23:11

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page