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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Section: Environmental Benefits of Biochar

Influence of Sugarcane Bagasse-derived Biochar Application on Nitrate Leaching in Calcaric Dark Red Soil


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 4, p. 1131-1137
    Received: Oct 15, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): kojikame@affrc.go.jp
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  1. K. Kameyama *a,
  2. T. Miyamotoa,
  3. T. Shionoa and
  4. Y. Shinogib
  1. a National Institute for Rural Engineering, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Kannondai 2-1-6, Tsukuba 305-8609, Japan
    b Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu Univ., Hakozaki 6-10-1, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan. Assigned to Associate Editor David Laird


Application of biochar has been suggested to improve water- and fertilizer-retaining capacity of agricultural soil. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of bagasse charcoal (sugarcane [Saccharum officinarum L.] bagasse–derived biochar) on nitrate (NO3) leaching from Shimajiri Maji soil, which has low water- and fertilizer-retaining capacity. The nitrate adsorption properties of bagasse charcoal formed at five pyrolysis temperatures (400–800°C) were investigated to select the most suitable bagasse charcoal for NO3 adsorption. Nitrate was able to adsorb onto the bagasse charcoal formed at pyrolysis temperatures of 700 to 800°C. Nitrate adsorption by bagasse charcoal (formed at 800°C) that passed through a 2-mm sieve was in a state of nonequilibrium even at 20 h after the addition of 20 mg N L−1 KNO3 solution. Measurements suggested that the saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of bagasse charcoal (800°C)–amended soils are affected by changes in soil tortuosity and porosity and the presence of meso- and micropores in the bagasse charcoal, which did not contribute to soil water transfer. In NO3 leaching studies using bagasse charcoal (800°C)–amended soils with different charcoal contents (0–10% [w/w]), the maximum concentration of NO3 in effluents from bagasse charcoal–amended soil columns was approximately 5% less than that from a nonamended soil column because of NO3 adsorption by bagasse charcoal (800°C). We conclude that application of bagasse charcoal (800°C) to the soil will increase the residence time of NO3 in the root zone of crops and provide greater opportunity for crops to absorb NO3.

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