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Effect of biochar soil-amendments on Allium porrum growth and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus colonization

Han, Yanxue, Douds, Jr., David D., Boateng, Akwasi A.
Journal of plant nutrition 2016 v.39 no.11 pp. 1654-1662
Allium porrum, Glomus intraradices, agricultural soils, bacteria, biochar, biomass, feedstocks, mycorrhizal fungi, phosphorus, physicochemical properties, pyrolysis, roots, seedlings, soil amendments, soil biology, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae
Application of biochar to soil to achieve any number of goals should also consider unintended effects upon soil biology, including symbioses such as arbuscular mycorrhizas. We conducted an experiment to examine the interaction of biochar addition and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus inoculation upon growth and phosphorus (P) uptake by Allium porrum L. and relate these responses to physicochemical properties of the biochars. A. porrum seedlings were grown with and without Glomus intraradices Schenck & Smith, and either without biochar or in the presence of one of 12 different biochars created by pyrolysis of three biomass feedstocks. Fast pyrolysis biochars greatly reduced colonization of roots by the AM fungus. Among biochars produced by a given pyrolysis method, higher surface areas were accompanied by higher AM fungus colonization. These findings are pertinent in selecting biochars for application to agricultural soils for such purposes as inactivation of pathogenic bacteria while being mindful of potential impacts upon the AM symbiosis.