Dynamic biochar effects on soil nitrous oxide emissions and underlying microbial processes during the maize growing season

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Biochar application is a promising approach to decrease nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions from agricultural soils, yet little is known about how biochar affects N 2 O-producing and consuming microbial processes under changing field conditions. We conducted a field study to assess if growing season patterns in soil N 2 O emissions were correlated with the underlying microbial processes of nitrification and denitrification. We measured soil N 2 O emissions, potential nitrification and denitrification rates, and the abundance of key soil nitrogen (N)-cycling functional genes in an intensive maize production field trial in Illinois, USA that included the following four treatments: Control (unamended), Biochar (100 Mg ha −1 ), Nitrogen (269 kg N ha −1 as Urea Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer), and Biochar + Nitrogen (100 Mg ha −1 and 269 kg N ha −1 , respectively). Biochar increased potential nitrification rates when soil ammonium concentrations were high following fertilizer application, thus enhancing N 2 O emissions in the Biochar + Nitrogen treatment early in the season which were likely nitrification-associated. However, over the full growing season, biochar application reduced cumulative N 2 O emissions in Biochar + Nitrogen plots to levels similar to the unamended Control. This could be attributed to biochar suppression of potential denitrification throughout the growing season. The treatments amended with biochar avoided large pulses of N 2 O emissions following intense rain events in the mid-season, while also sustaining lower N 2 O emissions in the late-season. Our study demonstrates that biochar can have dynamic effects on soil N 2 O emissions and the underlying microbial processes that depend on changing edaphic conditions, such as soil inorganic nitrogen availability and moisture, over the growing season.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume122
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Fingerprint

biochar
Nitrous Oxide
nitrous oxide
Zea mays
Soil
growing season
maize
corn
Nitrification
nitrification
Nitrogen
soil
Denitrification
denitrification
nitrogen
Fertilizers
effect
inorganic nitrogen
ammonium nitrate
soil nitrogen

Keywords

  • Biochar
  • Denitrification
  • Functional genes
  • Maize
  • Nitrification
  • Nitrous oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science

Cite this

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title = "Dynamic biochar effects on soil nitrous oxide emissions and underlying microbial processes during the maize growing season",
abstract = "Biochar application is a promising approach to decrease nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions from agricultural soils, yet little is known about how biochar affects N 2 O-producing and consuming microbial processes under changing field conditions. We conducted a field study to assess if growing season patterns in soil N 2 O emissions were correlated with the underlying microbial processes of nitrification and denitrification. We measured soil N 2 O emissions, potential nitrification and denitrification rates, and the abundance of key soil nitrogen (N)-cycling functional genes in an intensive maize production field trial in Illinois, USA that included the following four treatments: Control (unamended), Biochar (100 Mg ha −1 ), Nitrogen (269 kg N ha −1 as Urea Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer), and Biochar + Nitrogen (100 Mg ha −1 and 269 kg N ha −1 , respectively). Biochar increased potential nitrification rates when soil ammonium concentrations were high following fertilizer application, thus enhancing N 2 O emissions in the Biochar + Nitrogen treatment early in the season which were likely nitrification-associated. However, over the full growing season, biochar application reduced cumulative N 2 O emissions in Biochar + Nitrogen plots to levels similar to the unamended Control. This could be attributed to biochar suppression of potential denitrification throughout the growing season. The treatments amended with biochar avoided large pulses of N 2 O emissions following intense rain events in the mid-season, while also sustaining lower N 2 O emissions in the late-season. Our study demonstrates that biochar can have dynamic effects on soil N 2 O emissions and the underlying microbial processes that depend on changing edaphic conditions, such as soil inorganic nitrogen availability and moisture, over the growing season.",
keywords = "Biochar, Denitrification, Functional genes, Maize, Nitrification, Nitrous oxide",
author = "Edwards, {Joseph D.} and Pittelkow, {Cameron M} and Kent, {Angela D} and Wendy Yang",
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month = "7",
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T1 - Dynamic biochar effects on soil nitrous oxide emissions and underlying microbial processes during the maize growing season

AU - Edwards, Joseph D.

AU - Pittelkow, Cameron M

AU - Kent, Angela D

AU - Yang, Wendy

PY - 2018/7

Y1 - 2018/7

N2 - Biochar application is a promising approach to decrease nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions from agricultural soils, yet little is known about how biochar affects N 2 O-producing and consuming microbial processes under changing field conditions. We conducted a field study to assess if growing season patterns in soil N 2 O emissions were correlated with the underlying microbial processes of nitrification and denitrification. We measured soil N 2 O emissions, potential nitrification and denitrification rates, and the abundance of key soil nitrogen (N)-cycling functional genes in an intensive maize production field trial in Illinois, USA that included the following four treatments: Control (unamended), Biochar (100 Mg ha −1 ), Nitrogen (269 kg N ha −1 as Urea Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer), and Biochar + Nitrogen (100 Mg ha −1 and 269 kg N ha −1 , respectively). Biochar increased potential nitrification rates when soil ammonium concentrations were high following fertilizer application, thus enhancing N 2 O emissions in the Biochar + Nitrogen treatment early in the season which were likely nitrification-associated. However, over the full growing season, biochar application reduced cumulative N 2 O emissions in Biochar + Nitrogen plots to levels similar to the unamended Control. This could be attributed to biochar suppression of potential denitrification throughout the growing season. The treatments amended with biochar avoided large pulses of N 2 O emissions following intense rain events in the mid-season, while also sustaining lower N 2 O emissions in the late-season. Our study demonstrates that biochar can have dynamic effects on soil N 2 O emissions and the underlying microbial processes that depend on changing edaphic conditions, such as soil inorganic nitrogen availability and moisture, over the growing season.

AB - Biochar application is a promising approach to decrease nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions from agricultural soils, yet little is known about how biochar affects N 2 O-producing and consuming microbial processes under changing field conditions. We conducted a field study to assess if growing season patterns in soil N 2 O emissions were correlated with the underlying microbial processes of nitrification and denitrification. We measured soil N 2 O emissions, potential nitrification and denitrification rates, and the abundance of key soil nitrogen (N)-cycling functional genes in an intensive maize production field trial in Illinois, USA that included the following four treatments: Control (unamended), Biochar (100 Mg ha −1 ), Nitrogen (269 kg N ha −1 as Urea Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer), and Biochar + Nitrogen (100 Mg ha −1 and 269 kg N ha −1 , respectively). Biochar increased potential nitrification rates when soil ammonium concentrations were high following fertilizer application, thus enhancing N 2 O emissions in the Biochar + Nitrogen treatment early in the season which were likely nitrification-associated. However, over the full growing season, biochar application reduced cumulative N 2 O emissions in Biochar + Nitrogen plots to levels similar to the unamended Control. This could be attributed to biochar suppression of potential denitrification throughout the growing season. The treatments amended with biochar avoided large pulses of N 2 O emissions following intense rain events in the mid-season, while also sustaining lower N 2 O emissions in the late-season. Our study demonstrates that biochar can have dynamic effects on soil N 2 O emissions and the underlying microbial processes that depend on changing edaphic conditions, such as soil inorganic nitrogen availability and moisture, over the growing season.

KW - Biochar

KW - Denitrification

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KW - Maize

KW - Nitrification

KW - Nitrous oxide

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