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Biochar Amendment to the Soil Surface Reduces Fumigant Emissions and Enhances Soil Microorganism Recovery

Shen, Guoqing, Ashworth, Daniel J., Gan, Jay, Yates, Scott R.
Environmental Science & Technology 2016 v.50 no.3 pp. 1182-1189
1,3-dichloropropene, ammonium thiosulfate, biochar, chloropicrin, emissions, fumigants, green waste, mixing, pest control, polyethylene, rice hulls, soil air, soil fumigation, soil microorganisms, soil respiration
During soil fumigation, it is ideal to mitigate soil fumigant emissions, ensure pest control efficacy, and speed up the recovery of the soil microorganism population established postapplication. However, no current fumigant emission reduction strategy can meet all these requirements. In the present study, replicated soil columns were used to study the effect of biochar derived from rice husk (BR) and green waste (BG) applied to the soil surface on 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D) and chloropicrin (CP) emissions and soil gas distribution, and on microorganism population re-establishment. Relative to fumigated bare soil (no emission reduction strategy), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and ammonium thiosulfate (ATS) treatments, BR gave dramatic emission reductions for both fumigants with no obvious emission peak, whereas BG was very effective only for 1,3-D. With BR application, the concentration of fumigant in the soil gas was higher than in the bare soil and ATS treatment. After the soil column experiment, mixing the BR with the fumigated soil resulted in higher soil respiration rates than were observed for HDPE and ATS treatments. Therefore, biochar amendment to the soil surface may be an effective strategy for fumigant emission reduction and the recovery of soil microorganism populations established postapplication.