Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 513045
Title Initial biochar effects on plant productivity derive from N fertilization
Author(s) Jeffery, S.L.; Memelink, Ilse; Hodgson, Edward; Jones, S.; Voorde, T.F.J. van de; Bezemer, T.M.; Mommer, L.; Groenigen, J.W. van
Source Plant and Soil 415 (2017)1-2. - ISSN 0032-079X - p. 435 - 448.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-016-3171-z
Department(s) Chair Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality
Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2017
Abstract Background and aim
Biochar application to soil is widely claimed to increase plant productivity. However, the underlying mechanisms are still not conclusively described. Here, we aim to elucidate these mechanisms using stable isotope probing.
Methods
We conducted two experiments with uniquely double-labelled (15N and 13C) biochar and its feedstock (residue), applied separately at 15 Mg ha−1. Both experiments contained three treatments: biochar amendment (Biochar), unpyrolysed residue amendment (Residue) and a no addition control (Control). Experiment I was a 119 day pot experiment seeded with Lolium perenne. Experiment II was a 71 day incubation experiment without plants in which CO2 and N2O fluxes were measured.
Results
Both Biochar and Residue significantly increased aboveground productivity compared to Control (140% and 160%, respectively). Initial N immobilisation was stimulated in Residue, whereas not in Biochar. 13C–CO2 analysis confirmed that biochar was significantly more recalcitrant than residue. 15N analysis showed that 2% and 0.3% of grass N was derived from the amended material in Residue and Biochar, respectively.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that biochar-induced yield increases derive from a combination of reduced N immobilization and a moderate N fertilization effect. Although in the short term biochar might offer benefits compared to residue incorporation, it is unlikely that biochar yield gains will be sustainable for the decades to centuries that biochar C can be expected to reside in soil.
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