Short-term effects of organo-mineral biochar and organic fertilisers on nitrogen cycling, plant photosynthesis, and nitrogen use efficiency

Thi Thu Nhan Nguyen, Helen M. Wallace, Cheng Yuan Xu, Zhihong Xu, Michael B. Farrar, Stephen Joseph, Lukas Van Zwieten, Shahla Hosseini Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Organo-mineral biochar fertiliser has the potential to replace conventional biochar and organic fertiliser to improve soil quality and increase plant photosynthesis. This study explored mechanisms involved in nitrogen (N) cycling in both soil and ginger plants (Zingiber officinale: Zingiberaceae) following different treatments including organic fertiliser, commercial bamboo biochar fertiliser, and organo-mineral biochar fertiliser. Materials and methods: Soil received four treatments including (1) commercial organic fertiliser (5 t ha−1) as the control, (2) commercial bamboo biochar fertiliser (5 t ha−1), (3) organo-mineral biochar fertiliser at a low rate (3 t ha−1), and (4) organo-mineral biochar fertiliser at a high rate (7.5 t ha−1). C and N fractions of soil and plant, and gas exchange measurements were analysed. Results and discussion: Initially, organo-mineral biochar fertiliser applied at the low rate increased leaf N. Organo-mineral biochar fertiliser applied at the high rate significantly increased N use efficiency (NUE) of the aboveground biomass compared with other treatments and improved photosynthesis compared with the control. There was N fractionation during plant N uptake and assimilation since the 15N enrichment between the root, leaf, and stem were significantly different from zero; however, treatments did not affect this N fractionation. Conclusions: Organo-mineral biochar fertiliser has agronomic advantages over inorganic and raw organic (manure-based) N fertiliser because it allows farmer to put high concentrations of nutrients into soil without restricting N availability, N uptake, and plant photosynthesis. We recommend applying the low rate of organo-mineral biochar fertiliser as a substitute for commercial organic fertiliser.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2763-2774
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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