Impacts of biochar application in combination with organic fertilizer, such as compost, are not fully understood. In this study, we tested the effects of biochar amendment, compost addition, and their combination on lettuce plants grown in a soil poor in nutrients; soil microbiological, chemical, and physical characteristics were analyzed, together with plant growth and physiology. An initial screening was also done to evaluate the effect of biochar and compost toxicity, using cress plants and earthworms. Results showed that compost amendment had clear and positive effects on plant growth and yield and on soil chemical characteristics. However, we demonstrated that also the biochar alone stimulated lettuce leaves number and total biomass, improving soil total nitrogen and phosphorus contents, as well as total carbon, and enhancing related microbial communities. Nevertheless, combining biochar and compost, no positive synergic and summative effects were observed. Our results thus demonstrate that in a soil poor in nutrients the biochar alone could be effectively used to enhance soil fertility and plant growth and biomass yield. However, we can speculate that the combination of compost and biochar may enhance and sustain soil biophysical and chemical characteristics and improve crop productivity over time.

The effects of biochar and its combination with compost on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) growth, soil properties, and soil microbial activity and abundance

TRUPIANO, Dalila;AMENDOLA, Carla;LUSTRATO, Giuseppe;FANTASMA, Francesca;TOGNETTI, Roberto;SCIPPA, Gabriella
2017

Abstract

Impacts of biochar application in combination with organic fertilizer, such as compost, are not fully understood. In this study, we tested the effects of biochar amendment, compost addition, and their combination on lettuce plants grown in a soil poor in nutrients; soil microbiological, chemical, and physical characteristics were analyzed, together with plant growth and physiology. An initial screening was also done to evaluate the effect of biochar and compost toxicity, using cress plants and earthworms. Results showed that compost amendment had clear and positive effects on plant growth and yield and on soil chemical characteristics. However, we demonstrated that also the biochar alone stimulated lettuce leaves number and total biomass, improving soil total nitrogen and phosphorus contents, as well as total carbon, and enhancing related microbial communities. Nevertheless, combining biochar and compost, no positive synergic and summative effects were observed. Our results thus demonstrate that in a soil poor in nutrients the biochar alone could be effectively used to enhance soil fertility and plant growth and biomass yield. However, we can speculate that the combination of compost and biochar may enhance and sustain soil biophysical and chemical characteristics and improve crop productivity over time.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/69496
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