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Review of the Effects of Biochar Amendment on Soil Properties and Carbon Sequestration

Tao Xie, Bala Yamini Sadasivam, Krishna R. Reddy, Chengwen Wang, Kurt Spokas
Journal of hazardous, toxic, and radioactive waste 2015 v. no. pp. 04015013
acid soils, biochar, biomass, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, cation exchange capacity, chemical treatment, coarse-textured soils, crop yield, crops, elemental composition, feedstocks, fertilizers, field experimentation, fields, greenhouse experimentation, greenhouse gas emissions, heat treatment, methane, nitrous oxide, radioactive waste, soil amendments, soil pH, surface area, toxicity
Biochar is part of a series of materials referred to as black carbons, since biochar is produced by a chemical and/or thermal transformation of the original biomass material in different conditions. The objective of this paper is to summarize the characteristics of biochar from different feedstocks and its potential to maintain fertility and sequester carbon in agricultural fields. Properties of biochar were analyzed based on the summary of different biochar sources and indicators of elemental compositions, pH, surface area and cation exchange capacity were taken into consideration. Moreover, application effects of biochar were compared to evaluate the potential of biochars as crop fertilizer and carbon capture agent, based on some pot and field study results. Biochar performed well for soil pH and organic carbon improvement and stability of soil fertilizer generated from its large surface areas and cation exchange capacities, and increased crop yields significantly, especially in acidic and coarse-grained soils. Besides, biochar was proved to be an appropriate strategy for carbon neutral resulting from the carbon storage by itself and the decrease of total greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, CH4 and N2O, although the effects of biochar on each gas differed significantly. Biochar showed great potential for wider agricultural utilization in the future; however, additional long term studies were recommended to test biochar application in the fields.