One-year monitoring of nitrogen forms after the application of various types of biochar on different soils

Esther Martí*, Jordi Sierra, Xavier Domene, Màrius Mumbrú, Robert Cruañas, María Antonia Garau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Biochar is a carbon rich product obtained from pyrolysis of biomass. The use of biochar as soil amendment has been boosted in the last years due to its possible influence on fertility, including its potential ability to lower mineral nitrogen losses, but specially for its potential to reduce greenhouse gases and to increase carbon sequestration in soil. However, the studies on the effects of biochar on nitrogen forms in soil are heterogeneous and contradictory. The present work aims to clarify this point by applying 6 different biochars (with different origin and production process) on 6 different soils (of different properties). The amendment corresponded to an agronomic addition rate of 30 Mg ha−1, together with the addition of urea at a 100 kg N per ha rate. Then those mixtures were incubated for one year at a 60% of the WHC. The samples were analyzed for nitrogen forms (Kjeldahl-N, ammonium-N, nitrate-N, nitrite-N, and microbial-N) at different incubation times (1 week, 1 month, 4 months and 1 year after the addition). The results showed that the effects of different biochars on the soil nitrogen forms were variegated, mainly attributable to soil properties, and to a lesser extent to the particular biochar used. Overall, the Kjeldahl-N (KN) decreased after the incubation time, and only the mixtures with N-rich biochars achieved slightly higher KN compared to controls. Also, biochars tended to induce a decrease in NH4+-N, and, especially, in NO3-N. The biochars causing highest shifts on N inorganic forms were those produced from agronomic sources (olive and corn wastes) and the one from pine wood materials subjected to high pyrolysis temperature conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115178
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021


  • Biochar
  • Inorganic nitrogen
  • Kjeldahl nitrogen
  • Nitrogen dynamics
  • Soil


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