عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction Biochar is a charcoal, pyrolyzed from a wide range of carbon-rich biomass materials, such as crop and wood residues, animal manures and a range of industrial wastes and once added into soil, it can store the soil carbon for a long period, improve the soil structure and increase the crop yield. However, the physical and chemical characteristics of biochars are influenced by the properties of the feedstock and pyrolysis conditions, such as highest temperature treatment and furnace residence time. Considering the large variation in biochar properties, it is not surprising that crop yields vary with different biochars. We investigated the effects of biochars on corn growth in the greenhouse. The specific objectives were (a) to assess whether feedstock properties or pyrolysis temperature are important in preparing of biochar and (b) to quantify the effects of varying biochar characteristics on corn growth and chlorophyll index in a calcareous soil under greenhouse condition.
Materials and Methods Biochar was produced from crop residues including rice, cotton and canola. Feedstock was oven-dried before pyrolysis. The pyrolysis process was conducted for 1 h at 10°C min‒1 heating rate to produce biochars at different temperatures of 350 and 700 oC under oxygen-limited conditions. All biochars were ground and passed through a 2-mm sieve before experimentation. Ash content and char yield was calculated and biochar pH and electrical conductivity (EC) were measured using 1:20 solid: solution ratio. The soil used in this experiment was taken from the Research Farm of Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The soil was air-dried and ground to pass through a 2-mm sieve then analyzed for various soil physico-chemical properties using standard methods. A greenhouse experiment was set up using pots with 5 kg prepared soil. Various treatments comprising of 3 biochars type produced at different pyrolysis temperatures (350 and 700°C) from three crop residues (rice, cotton and canola) at three application rates (0, 2 and 5% w/w). A completely randomized design was used in factorial arrangement and treatments were replicated four times. After the soil had been prepared and biochar added, six seeds of maize were planted approximately 20 mm deep in the center of the pots and thinning to seedlings of four plants pot‒1 was done at plant establishment. Distilled water was used to maintain moisture contents of the soil in all the pots during the experimental period. Plant stem and leaves were harvested 96 days after planting. Washed with distilled water then dried with tissue paper. The leaf and stem samples were air-dried and then oven dried at 65˚C to a constant weight in a forced air driven oven. The studied traits included leaf and stem fresh and dry weight, plant height, number of leaves, time to first flowering, chlorophyll index (SPAD), concentration of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and total chlorophyll. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the factors biochar type, application rate and pyrolysis temperature were performed using a completely randomized design. Significantly different treatment means were separated using least significant difference (LSD) test at PResults and Discussion The results showed that pyrolysis temperature significantly influenced the measured chemical properties of biochars. EC values were tended to increase with pyrolysis temperature. The pH of the biochars was also influenced by temperature. Biochars pH ranged from 6.8 to 9.6. The pH of the biochars was increased with increasing temperature and highest pH (9.6) was observed at 700°C of rice residues. These increases in pH values are mainly due to separating of alkali salts from organic materials by increased pyrolysis temperature. The results showed that the yield of biochars was reduced by increasing pyrolysis temperature and ranged from 19.4% to 40.1%. This decline in yield content is mainly due to the destruction of some compounds such as cellulose and hemicellulose as well as combustion of organic materials with increased pyrolysis temperature. By contrast to biochar yield, the biochar ash content increased with increasing pyrolysis temperature. The lowest values of leaf and stem fresh and dry weight was observed at 700°C of canola residues. These results suggest that biochar produced at high pyrolysis temperature (especially at 700°C), when applied to the soil, may increase soil salinity and subsequently provide undesirable impacts on the plant growth. It has been reported that the negative impacts of high salinity on the plant growth could be due to the following reasons: (1) the low osmotic potential of the soil solution, resulting in water stress, (2) specific ion effects, resulting in salt stress, and (3) nutrient imbalances. Addition of each three types of biochars caused a significant increase in chlorophyll concentration compared to control.
Conclusion The type of feedstock material is an important factor that determines the final application of the biochar and its effect on plant growth papameters. Therefore, there is further need for research focusing on the effects of biochar addition on soil properties and plant growth in order to assess biochar as a valuable resource for agriculture.