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Effect of sewage sludge and sugarcane bagasse biochar on soil properties and sugar beet production

Alves B.S.Q., Zelaya K.P.S., Colen F., Frazão L.A., Napoli A., Parikh S.J., Fernandes L.A.. 2021. Pedosphere, 31 (4) : p. 572-582.

DOI: 10.1016/S1002-0160(21)60003-6

Recently, biochar has shown to be an alternative to waste disposal and a source of nutrients, acting as a soil amendment. The effects of two types of biochar on soil properties and sugar beet production as well as potential for carbon (C) sequestration were evaluated: biochar produced from sewage sludge (SB) and biochar produced from a 1:1 mixture of sewage sludge and sugarcane bagasse (MB). A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted using a sandy loam soil from the Brazilian savanna under treatments of MB applications at 2.5%, 5.0%, 7.5%, and 10.0%, SB application at 5.0%, and a conventional fertilization (CF) using lime and mineral fertilizers, with no fertilization as a control. After incubation for 45 d, seedlings were transplanted into each pot and cultivated for 55 d. Biochar characterization showed that pyrolysis reduced the biomass volume drastically, but concentrated the trace elements per unit of biochar weight. The MB treatments increased soil total C (by 27.8%) and pH (by 0.6), reduced the concentrations of nutrients, except for potassium (K), and chromium (Cr), and did not significantly alter lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) concentrations. Results of stable isotopes showed that all biochar treatments increased the total soil C stock and stability, suggesting a potential for application in C sequestration, and improved overall soil fertility. However, the biochar treatments also increased the concentrations of trace elements in the soil and plants. The sugar beet yields at 10.0% MB and 5.0% SB corresponded to 55% and 29% of the yield obtained in the CF treatment, respectively. These results may be due to biochar nutrients not being bioavailable when required by plants or to biochar nutrient adsorption.

Mots-clés : utilisation des déchets; fertilisation; bagasse; boue résiduaire; propriété physicochimique du sol; séquestration du carbone; beta vulgaris; betterave sucrière; brésil; biochar

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