Enhancement of physical and hydrological properties of a sandy loam soil via application of different biochar particle sizes during incubation period

Leila Esmaeelnejad, Mehdi Shorafa, Manouchehr Gorji, Seiyed M. Hosseini


In spite of many studies that have been carried out, there is a knowledge-gap as to how different sizes of biochars alter soil properties. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of different sizes of biochars on soil properties. The biochars were produced at two pyrolysis temperatures (350 and 550°C) from two feedstocks (rice husk and apple wood chips). Produced biochars were prepared at two diameters (1-2 mm and <1 mm) and mixed with soil at a rate of 2% (w/w). Multiple effects of type, temperature and size of biochars were significant, so as the mixture of soil and finer woodchip biochars produced at 550°C had significant effects on all soil properties. Soil aggregation and stabilization of macro-aggregates, values of mean weight diameter and water stable aggregates were improved due to increased soil organic matter as binding agents and microbial biomass. In addition, plant available water capacity, air capacity, S-index, meso-pores and water retention content were significantly increased compared to control. But, saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) was reduced due to blockage of pores by biochar particles, reduction of pore throat size and available space for flow and also, high field capacity of biochars. So, application of biochar to soil, especially the finest particles of high-tempered woody biochars, can improve physical and hydrological properties of coarse-textured soils and reduce their water drainage by modification of Ks.


aggregate stability; quality indexes; saturated hydraulic conductivity; soil pores; water retention

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2016142-9190