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Article
Biochar built soil carbon over a decade by stabilizing rhizodeposits
Nature Climate Change
  • Zhe Weng, Charles Sturt University
  • Lukas Van Zwieten, Southern Cross University
  • Bhupinder P Singh, NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Ehsan Tavakkoli, NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Stephen Joseph, University of Wollongong
  • Lynne M Macdonald, CSIRO Agriculture, South Australia
  • Terry J Rose, Southern Cross University
  • Michael T Rose, NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Stephen W L Kimber, NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Stephen Morris, NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Daniel Cozzolino, Central Queensland University
  • Joyce R Araujo, Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Brazil
  • Braulio S Archanjo, Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Brazil
  • Annette Cowie, NSW Department of Primary Industries
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2017
Peer Reviewed
Peer-Reviewed
Abstract
Biochar can increase the stable C content of soil. However, studies on the longer-term role of plant–soil–biochar interactions and the consequent changes to native soil organic carbon (SOC) are lacking. Periodic 13CO2 pulse labelling of ryegrass was used to monitor belowground C allocation, SOC priming, and stabilization of root-derived C for a 15-month period—commencing 8.2 years after biochar (Eucalyptus saligna, 550 °C) was amended into a subtropical ferralsol. We found that field-aged biochar enhanced the belowground recovery of new root-derived C (13C) by 20%, and facilitated negative rhizosphere priming (it slowed SOC mineralization by 5.5%, that is, 46 g CO2-C m−2 yr−1). Retention of root-derived 13C in the stable organo-mineral fraction (<53 μm) was also increased (6%, P < 0.05). Through synchrotron-based spectroscopic analysis of bulk soil, field-aged biochar and microaggregates (<250 μm), we demonstrate that biochar accelerates the formation of microaggregates via organo-mineral interactions, resulting in the stabilization and accumulation of SOC in a rhodic ferralsol.
Disciplines
Citation Information

Weng, Z, Van Zwieten, L, Singh, BP, Tavakkoli, E, Joseph, S, Mcdonald, LM, Rose, TJ, Rose, MT, Kimber, SWL, Morris, S, Cozzolino, D, Araujo, JR, Archanjo, BS & Cowie, A 2017, 'Biochar built soil carbon over a decade by stabilizing rhizodeposits', Nature Climate Change, vol. 7, pp. 371-376.

Published version available from:

https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate3276