Biochar from commercially cultivated seaweed for soil amelioration

Roberts, David A., Paul, Nicholas A., Dworjanyn, Symon A., Bird, Michael I., and de Nys, Rocky (2015) Biochar from commercially cultivated seaweed for soil amelioration. Scientific Reports, 5. 9665. pp. 1-6.

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Abstract

Seaweed cultivation is a high growth industry that is primarily targeted at human food and hydrocolloid markets. However, seaweed biomass also offers a feedstock for the production of nutrient-rich biochar for soil amelioration. We provide the first data of biochar yield and characteristics from intensively cultivated seaweeds (Saccharina, Undaria and Sargassum – brown seaweeds, and Gracilaria, Kappaphycus and Eucheuma – red seaweeds). While there is some variability in biochar properties as a function of the origin of seaweed, there are several defining and consistent characteristics of seaweed biochar, in particular a relatively low C content and surface area but high yield, essential trace elements (N, P and K) and exchangeable cations (particularly K). The pH of seaweed biochar ranges from neutral (7) to alkaline (11), allowing for broad-spectrum applications in diverse soil types. We find that seaweed biochar is a unique material for soil amelioration that is consistently different to biochar derived from ligno-cellulosic feedstock. Blending of seaweed and ligno-cellulosic biochar could provide a soil ameliorant that combines a high fixed C content with a mineral-rich substrate to enhance crop productivity.

Item ID: 38236
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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© This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder in order to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funders: MBD Energy Research and Development program for Biological Carbon Capture and Storage, Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2015 03:27
FoR Codes: 10 TECHNOLOGY > 1002 Environmental Biotechnology > 100205 Environmental Marine Biotechnology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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