Advances in Earth Science ›› 2014, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 68-79. doi: 1001-8166(2014)01-0068-12

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Effects of Biochar Amendment on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties: Current Status and Knowledge Gaps

Wu Yu 1, 2, Xu Gang 1, Lü Yingchun 1, Shao Hongbo 1   

  1. 1.Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China; 2.Univesity of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-08-27 Online:2014-01-10 Published:2014-01-10

Wu Yu,Xu Gang,Lü Yingchun,Shao Hongbo. Effects of Biochar Amendment on Soil Physical and Chemical Properties: Current Status and Knowledge Gaps[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2014, 29(1): 68-79.

Biochar is an organic material with high carbon content, most aromatic structure and great stability resulting from high temperature thermal conversion (usually < 700 ℃) of organic materials under the completely or in part anoxic condition. Due to its stable chemical properties, biochar has received widely attention as a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, biochar shows great potential in soil improvement and environmental pollution remediation, and provides a comprehensive solution for the global climate change, food crisis and ecological pollution remediation. Biochar is a carbon rich material, in association with porous characteristics and high surface area which are favorable to accumulating soil moisture, to increasing the porosity, to reducing density and bulk density, and to promoting the formation of soil aggregation. All the above soil physical improvement can provide a good environment for the growth of plants. Furthermore, biochar is an ideal acidic soil amendment which can improve the pH of acidic soil. It contains nutrient element which can be directly released into soil, and its surface charge and functional groups are conducive to soil nutrient retention, such as the reduced leaching of NH + 4 and NO - 3, PO 3- 4, therefore improve the efficiency of nutrient elements. However, the effect of biochar amendments highly influenced by raw materials and pyrolysis conditions is of inconsistent and sometimes even contrast results can be concluded. In this paper, we summarize the current status and knowledge gaps about the effect of biochar amendments on soil physical and chemical properties and some suggestions are also strengthened. Finally, some possible negative impacts of biochar application and research suggestions are discussed in order to better use of biochar in agriculture.
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