Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is biochar the answer for agriculture? Long-term study digs up new information on biochar’s ability to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soils

Date:
August 9, 2010
Source:
American Society of Agronomy
Summary:
Scientists have found that over several months, biochar applied to soil can significantly reduce emissions of nitrous oxide and leaching of nitrates.

Scientists demonstrate that biochar, a type charcoal applied to soils in order to capture and store carbon, can reduce emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, and inorganic nitrogen runoff from agriculture settings. The finding will help develop strategies and technologies to reduce soil nitrous oxide emissions and reduce agriculture's influence on climate change.

Related Articles


A research team led by Bhupinder Pal Singh from Industry and Investment New South Wales and Balwant Singh from the University of Sydney, tested the effects of four types of biochar on nitrous oxide emission and nitrogen leaching from two different soil varieties. Their results are reported in the July-August 2010 Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

The study revealed for the first time that interactions between biochar and soil that occur over time are important when assessing the influence of biochar on nitrogen losses from soil. The scientists subjected soils samples to three wetting-drying cycles, to simulate a range of soil moistures during the five-month study period, and measured nitrous oxide emissions and nitrogen runoff.

Initially, biochar application produced inconsistent effects. Several early samples produced greater nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching than the control samples.

However, during the third wetting-drying cycle, four months after biochar application, all biochars reduced nitrous oxide emissions by up to 73%, and reduced ammonium leaching by up to 94%. The researchers suggest that reductions in nitrous oxide emissions and nitrogen leaching over time were due to "ageing" of the biochars in soil.

"The impacts of biochars on nitrous oxide emissions from soil are of interest because even small reductions in nitrous oxide emissions can considerably enhance the greenhouse mitigation value of biochar, which is already proven to be a highly stable carbon pool in the soil environment," according to senior author Bhupinder Pal Singh. "This research highlights that impacts of biochar on nitrogen transformations in soil may change over time and hence stresses the need for long-term studies to assess biochar's potential to reduce nitrogen losses from soil."

In addition to the three wet-dry cycles, the soil samples also received glucose and nutrient applications to supply of carbon and inorganic nutrients for optimal microbial activity. The research team tested biochar from two different sources, wood waste and poultry litter. Biochar is made when organic material is burned at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen.

Research is on-going at Industry and Investment NSW to investigate the causes of the reductions in nitrous oxide emissions by biochars, especially under field conditions, and to determine optimal rate and timing of biochar and fertiliser applications to agricultural soils to maximize the greenhouse mitigation value of biochar.

This study was funded by the New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, and the biochars were supplied by Pacific Pyrolysis (previously known as Best Energies, Australia).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Agronomy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bhupinder Pal Singh, Blake J. Hatton, Balwant Singh, Annette L. Cowie, Amrit Kathuria. Influence of Biochars on Nitrous Oxide Emission and Nitrogen Leaching from Two Contrasting Soils. Journal of Environmental Quality, 2010; 39 (4): 1224 DOI: 10.2134/jeq2009.0138

Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy. "Is biochar the answer for agriculture? Long-term study digs up new information on biochar’s ability to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soils." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802073945.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy. (2010, August 9). Is biochar the answer for agriculture? Long-term study digs up new information on biochar’s ability to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soils. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802073945.htm
American Society of Agronomy. "Is biochar the answer for agriculture? Long-term study digs up new information on biochar’s ability to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soils." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802073945.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins