Biochar-based fertilizer: supercharging root membrane potential and biomass yield of rice

Chew, Jinkiat, Zhu, Longlong, Nielsen, Shaun, Graber, Ellen, Mitchell, David R.G., Horvat, Joseph, Mohammed, Mohanad, Liu, Minglong, van Zwieten, Lukas, Donne, Scott, Munroe, Paul, Taherymoosavi, Sarasadat, Pace, Ben, Rawal, Aditya, Hook, James, Marjo, Chris, Thomas, Donald S., Pan, Genxing, Li, Lianqing, Bian, Rongjun, McBeath, Anna, Bird, Michael, Thomas, Torsten, Husson, Olivier, Solaiman, Zakaria, Joseph, Stephen, Fan, Xiaorong, and UNSPECIFIED (2020) Biochar-based fertilizer: supercharging root membrane potential and biomass yield of rice. Science of the Total Environment, 713. 136431.

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Biochar-based compound fertilizers (BCF) and amendments have proven to enhance crop yields and modify soil properties (pH, nutrients, organic matter, structure etc.) and are now in commercial production in China. While there is a good understanding of the changes in soil properties following biochar addition, the interactions within the rhizosphere remain largely unstudied, with benefits to yield observed beyond the changes in soil properties alone. We investigated the rhizosphere interactions following the addition of an activated wheat straw BCF at an application rates of 025% (g.g(-1) soil), which could potentially explain the increase of plant biomass (by 67%), herbage N (by 40%) and P (by 46%) uptake in the rice plants grown in the BCF-treated soil, compared to the rice plants grown in the soil with conventional fertilizer alone. Examination of the roots revealed that micron and submicron-sized biochar were embedded in the plaque layer. BCE increased soil Eh by 85 mV and increased the potential difference between the rhizosphere soil and the root membrane by 65 my. This increased potential difference lowered the free energy required for root nutrient accumulation, potentially explaining greater plant nutrient content and biomass. We also demonstrate an increased abundance of plant-growth promoting bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere. We suggest that the redox properties of the biochar cause major changes in electron status of rhizosphere soils that drive the observed agronomic benefits.

Item ID: 62850
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: Biochar compound fertilizers, Root membrane potential, Plant nutrient uptake, Rhizosphere microbial interactions, Rice yield
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Renewed Carbon Pty Ltd., Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant LP120200418, DAFF Carbon Farming Futures Filling the Research Gap (RG134978)
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2020 07:42
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3008 Horticultural production > 300802 Horticultural crop growth and development @ 100%
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