Effect of biochar amendment on nitrate retention in a silty clay loam soil

  • Angela Libutti | angela.libutti@unifg.it Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy. http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6849-3356
  • Massimo Mucci Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.
  • Matteo Francavilla Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.
  • Massimo Monteleone Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.

Abstract

Biochar incorporation into agricultural soils has been proposed as a strategy to decrease nutrient leaching. The present study was designed to assess the effect of biochar on nitrate retention in a silty clay loam soil. Biochar obtained from the pyrogasification of fir wood chips was applied to soil and tested in a range of laboratory sorption experiments. Four soil treatments were considered: soil only (control), soil with 2, 4 and 8% of biochar by mass. The Freundlich sorption isotherm model was used to fit the adsorbed amount of nitrate in the soil-biochar mixtures. The model performed very well in interpreting the experimental data according to a general linear regression (analysis of co-variance) statistical approach. Nitrate retention in the soilbiochar mixtures was always higher than control, regardless the NO3 concentration in the range of 0-400 mg L–1. Different sorption capacities and intensities were detected depending on the biochar application rate. The highest adsorption capacity was observed in the soils added with 2 and 4% of biochar, respectively. From the results obtained is possible to infer that nitrate retention is higher at lower biochar addition rate to soil (2 and 4%) and at lower nitrate concentration in the soil water solution. These preliminary laboratory results suggest that biochar addition to a typical Mediterranean agricultural soil could be an effective management option to mitigate nitrate leaching.

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Author Biographies

Angela Libutti, Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia

Star*AgroEnergy Research Unit. Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia - Researcher

Matteo Francavilla, Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia
Star*AgroEnergy Research Unit. Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia - Researcher
Massimo Monteleone, Star AgroEnergy Research Unit, Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia
Star*AgroEnergy Research Unit. Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia - Associate Professor
Published
2016-08-10
Section
Short communications
Keywords:
Biochar, Freundlich sorption model, groundwater quality, nitrate leaching, nutrients retention.
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How to Cite
Libutti, A., Mucci, M., Francavilla, M., & Monteleone, M. (2016). Effect of biochar amendment on nitrate retention in a silty clay loam soil. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 11(4), 273-276. https://doi.org/10.4081/ija.2016.780