Rice husk biochar and crop residue amendment in subtropical cropping soils: Effect on biomass production, nitrogen use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions

Nguyen, Dai H., Scheer, Clemens, Rowlings, David W., & Grace, Peter R. (2016) Rice husk biochar and crop residue amendment in subtropical cropping soils: Effect on biomass production, nitrogen use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 52(2), pp. 261-270.

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We investigated the effect of maize residues and rice husk biochar on biomass production, fertiliser nitrogen recovery (FNR) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions for three different subtropical cropping soils. Maize residues at two rates (0 and 10 t ha−1) combined with three rates (0, 15 and 30 t ha-1) of rice husk biochar were added to three soil types in a pot trial with maize plants. Soil N2O emissions were monitored with static chambers for 91 days. Isotopic 15N-labelled urea was applied to the treatments without added crop residues to measure the FNR. Crop residue incorporation significantly reduced N uptake in all treatments but did not affect overall FNR. Rice husk biochar amendment had no effect on plant growth and N uptake but significantly reduced N2O and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in two of the three soils. The incorporation of crop residues had a contrasting effect on soil N2O emissions depending on the mineral N status of the soil. The study shows that effects of crop residues depend on soil properties at the time of application. Adding crop residues with a high C/N ratio to soil can immobilise N in the soil profile and hence reduce N uptake and/or total biomass production. Crop residue incorporation can either stimulate or reduce N2O emissions depending on the mineral N content of the soil. Crop residues pyrolysed to biochar can potentially stabilise native soil C (negative priming) and reduce N2O emissions from cropping soils thus providing climate change mitigation potential beyond the biochar C storage in soils. Incorporation of crop residues as an approach to recycle organic materials and reduce synthetic N fertiliser use in agricultural production requires a thorough evaluation, both in terms of biomass production and greenhouse gas emissions.

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ID Code: 91722
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Crop residues, Greenhouse gas, N2O, Nitrogen fertiliser recovery, Rice husk biochar
DOI: 10.1007/s00374-015-1074-4
ISSN: 1432-0789
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > SOIL SCIENCES (050300)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Facilities: Central Analytical Research Facility
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright Statement: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00374-015-1074-4
Deposited On: 11 Jan 2016 01:00
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2016 04:42

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