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Biochar-Induced Priming Effects in Young and Old Poplar Plantation Soils

Weiwei Lu1,*, Yirui Zhang1, Yixian Yao1, Yuying Wu1, Han Y. H. Chen2, Hailin Zhang3, Jia Yu4, Caiqin Shen5, Qi Liu6, Honghua Ruan1,*

1 College of Biology and the Environment, Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037, China
2 Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 5E1, Canada
3 Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA
4 Advanced Analysis and Testing Center, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037, China
5 State Owned Forest Farm of Dongtai, Dongtai, 224200, China
6 College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037, China

* Corresponding Authors: Weiwei Lu. Email: email; Honghua Ruan. Email: email

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2020, 89(1), 13-26.


The priming effect (PE) induced by biochar provides a basis for evaluating its carbon (C) sequestration potential in soils. A 60 days’ laboratory incubation was conducted, which involved the amendment of biochar (1% of soil mass) produced from rice straw at 300ºC (B300) and 500ºC (B500) to young (Y) and old (O) poplar plantation soils, with the aim of studying the responses of biochar-induced PEs to poplar plantation ages. This incubation included six treatments: Y + CK (control), Y + B300, Y + B500, O + CK, O + B300, and O + B500. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were significantly increased (p < 0.05) in the B300 amended soils, while it was decreased in the B500 amended soils compared to the CK. The primed CO2 emissions were 2.35 times higher in the Y + B300 than the O + B300 treatments, which was measured to be 18.6 and 5.56 mg C·kg-1 with relative PEs of 12.4% and 3.35%, respectively. However, there was little difference between the primed CO2 emissions in Y + B500 and O + B500 treatments, which were measured to be -24.9 and -29.6 mg·C·kg-1 with relative PEs of -16.6% and -17.8%, respectively. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was significantly lower in the young poplar plantation soil than that in the old poplar plantation soil regardless of biochar amendment throughout the incubation, indicating greater C-limit of soil microorganisms in the young poplar plantation soil. Using 13C isotope tracing, neither B300 nor B500 decreased native soil-derived DOC, which indicated that the negative B500-induced PEs were not due to a reduction in the availability of native soil-derived C. In conclusion, the response of biochar-induced PEs to poplar plantation age depends on biochar types while soil available C indirectly affects biocharinduced PEs. Further studies should focus on how the interactive effects between soil C availability and microbial community impacts biochar-induced PEs.


Cite This Article

Lu, W., Zhang, Y., Yao, Y., Wu, Y., Y., H. et al. (2020). Biochar-Induced Priming Effects in Young and Old Poplar Plantation Soils. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 89(1), 13–26.


cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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