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Biochar and alternate wetting-drying cycles improving rhizosphere soil nutrients availability and tobacco growth by altering root growth strategy in Ferralsol and Anthrosol

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  • Xuezhi Liu, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
  • ,
  • Yingying Ma, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
  • ,
  • Kiril Manevski
  • Mathias Neumann Andersen
  • Yue Li
  • Zhenhua Wei, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University
  • ,
  • Fulai Liu, University of Copenhagen, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Biochar has been advocated as a sustainable and eco-friendly practice to improve soil fertility and crop productivity which could aid in the mitigation of climate change. Nonetheless, the combined effects of biochar and irrigation on tobacco growth and soil nutrients in diverse soil types have been incompletely explored. We applied a split-root experiment to investigate the impacts of amendment with 2% softwood- (WBC) and wheat-straw biochar (SBC) on growth responses and rhizosphere soil nutrients availability of tobacco plants grown in a Ferralsol and an Anthrosol. All plants within same soil type received same amount of water daily by either conventional deficit irrigation (CDI) or alternate wetting-drying cycles irrigation (AWD). Compared to the un-amended controls, SBC addition enhanced biomass, carbon (C)-, phosphorus (P)- and potassium (K)-pool in the aboveground organs especially in Anthrosol, despite a negative effect on aboveground nitrogen (N)-pool. Regardless of soil type, biochar combined with AWD lowered root diameter while increased root tissue mass density to engage the plant in an acquisitive strategy for resources, therefore altered leaves stoichiometry as exemplified by lowered N/K, C/P and N/P and increased C/N. The addition of SBC induced a liming effect by increasing Anthrosol soil pH which was further amplified by AWD, but was unaffected on Ferralsol. Moreover, compared to the controls, SBC and AWD increased available P and K, and total C, total N and C/N ratio in the rhizosphere soil which coincided with the lowered soil C and N isotope composition (δ13C and δ15N), though a slight reduction in C and N stocks under AWD. However, such effects were not evident with WBC might be associated with its natures. Thus, combined SBC/AWD application might be an effective strategy to synergistically overcome nutrients restriction and improve tobacco productivity by intensifying nutrients cycling and optimizing plant growth strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150513
JournalScience of the total Environment
IssuePart 1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.

    Research areas

  • Alternate wetting-drying cycles, Biochar, Biomass yield, Rhizosphere effect, Root growth strategy, Soil nutrient availability

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