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Gasification biochar has limited effects on functional and structural diversity of soil microbial communities in a temperate agroecosystem

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  • Valentina Imparato
  • ,
  • Veronika Hansen, Plante- og Jordvidenskab, Denmark
  • Susana Santos
  • ,
  • Tue Kjærgaard Nielsen
  • ,
  • Laura Giagnoni, University of Florence, Italy
  • Henrik Hauggaard-Nielsen, Institut for Miljø, Samfund og Rumlig Forandring, Denmark
  • Anders Johansen
  • Giancarlo Renella, University of Florence, Italy
  • Anne Winding
Biochar may enhance soil fertility and carbon (C) sequestration but there is still a lack of comprehensive understanding of its effects on soil microbial communities and functioning. This study tested the differential effects of two doses (6e8 and 0.8e1.4 t ha1 for High and Low doses, respectively) of wheat
straw gasification biochar (GBC) and fresh straw incorporated as soil amendments into an agricultural field in Denmark. Soils were analysed three months after the amendments for pH, total organic matter, microbial biomass (ATP), ten enzymatic activities, catabolic potential by substrate-induced respiration (MicroResp™), soil toxicity test (BioTox™) and bacterial community structure (Illumina 16S rRNA gene sequencing). No significant effect of biochar treatment was observed regarding ATP content, catabolic community profiles and soil toxicity. The higher dose of GBC increased phenol oxidase activity and soil pH, and decreased the cellulase activity. No major effect of high dose GBC was observed on the soil community diversity, and only minor effect on the community composition, with an increase in the relative abundance of a single OTU associated with Acidobacteria_Gp16. Addition of low dose of GBC caused an increase in the relative abundance of the rare members in the microbial communities thus increasing the diversity of soil microorganisms. A comparable effect was observed with the addition of fresh straw. Overall, our results indicated that GBC as soil amendment had a limited effect on the functional and structural diversity of soil microbial communities in a Danish temperate agroecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoil Biology & Biochemistry
Pages (from-to)128-136
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

    Research areas

  • Carbon sequestration , Toxicity test , Acidobacteria , Microbial activity , MicroResp , 16S Illumina sequencing

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