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Localisation of nitrate in the rhizosphere of biochar-amended soils

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Publication details

JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
DatePublished - Nov 2011
Issue number11
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)2243-2246
Original languageEnglish


A wheat seedling rhizobox approach was used to differentiate between the rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere (bulk) soil amended with low and high rates of biochar (20 and 60 t ha-1 vs. control). Nitrate (NO3 -) was added as the main nitrogen (N) source because emerging biochar research points to reduced NO3 - loss through leaching and gaseous loss as nitrous oxide. The rhizosphere under the different treatments were distinct (P = 0.021), with greater soil-NO3 - and biochar-NO3 - contents in the high biochar treatment. Biochar addition increased wheat root length ratio (P = 0.053) and lowered root N uptake (P = 0.017), yet plant biomass and N content were similar between treatments. The results indicate localisation of NO3 - within the rhizosphere of biochar-amended soils which has implications for NO3 - loss and improved nitrogen use efficiency.

    Research areas

  • Biochar, Charcoal, Nitrate, Nutrient availability, Plant root architecture, Rhizobox, Rhizosphere

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