Zinc is a key micronutrient which takes part in plant physiological functions. One of the extensively wide range abiotic stresses arises from Zn shortage in agricultural calcareous soils. Zn is one of the most prevalent disorders among various crops. Zinc deficiency is very common in most calcareous soils. Different mechanisms are involved in the deficiency of Zn In calcareous soils. The presence of calcium carbonate, lack of organic matter and high pH lead to Zn deficiency. Knowledge on the total Zn contents of in soil gives little information for their bioavailability. In order for better understanding availability of Zn to plant, knowledge about their mobility, and distribution in soil fractions is necessary. Biochar is a carbon-rich material produced by pyrolysis of biomass under oxygen-limited conditions and relatively low temperature. Biochar as a valuable soil amendment has received much attention due to its beneficial effects on carbon sequestration, soil physiochemical properties, soil microbial activity as well as soil fertility. Pyrolysis temperature has a significant influence on biochar physicochemical properties. Furthermore, biochar may alter the distribution of Zn fractions in calcareous soils. The impact of produced biochars at different pyrolysis temperature on distribution of Zn fractions in calcareous soils has been less studied. Therefore, the objective of this research was to evaluate the changes in distribution of Zn fractions in a calcareous soils treated with sugarcane bagasse derived biochars at different pyrolysis temperature.
An incubation experiment was carried out in laboratory condition as a factorial experiment based on a randomized complete design with two factors: (1) biochar type in four levels including control (without biochar) and biochar produced at 200 (B200), 350 (B350) and 500 ˚C (B500), (2) biochar application rate in two levels including 1 and 2% (w/w), and in three replications. Biochars were produced at 200, 350 and 500˚C pyrolysis temperatures under slow pyrolysis conditions with a heating rate of 5 °C min−1. Heating at this temperature lasted for 2 h. Then biochars were sieved to pass through 2 mm sieve and some properties were measured using the standard methods. The soil used in this study was sampled from the surface layer (0 to 20 cm depth), then, air-dried and sieved through 2 mm. Biochars produced at 200, 350 and 500˚C were mixed at 1 and 2% (w/w) with the 300 g of soil sample and incubated in ambient temperature at laboratory conditions (25 ± 2°C), for 90 days. Soil moisture content was maintained at 80% of field capacity. The samples were weighted every day and the required amounts of distilled water were added. At the end of incubation period, soil samples were air-dried and soil chemical parameters such as pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), total organic carbon (TOC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were measured.Chemical fractions of Zn in the incubated soil were determined according to the Tessier fractionation method. The Tessier sequential extraction method categorized Zn into 5 different fractions including: the exchangeable (Exch), bound to carbonate fraction (Car), bound to organic matter (OM), bound to Fe and Mn-oxides (FeMnOx) and residual fraction (Res).
Result indicated that application of different biochars significantly increased soil CEC and TOC. Maximum CEC and TOC were measured in B200 and B350 treatments, respectively, while their minimum values were observed in control treatment. In B200 treatments (B200, 1% and B200, 2%), pH significantly decreased compared to control, while this value significantly increased in B350, 1% , B500, 1% and B500, 2% treatments. B350 1% treatment did not have a significant effect on the soil pH. Application of 1 and 2% B200 significantly enhanced DOC (23.9 and 38%, respectively), compared to the control, but increase of DOC in B350 and B500 treatments was not significant compared to the control. Results showed that concentration of exchangeable Zn fraction decreased by 9.3, 19.5 and 9.5 % in B350, 2%, B500, 1% and B500, 2% treatments, respectively, compared to the control. However, B200 treatments (B200, 1% and B200, 2%) caused a significant increase in concentration of exchangeable Zn fractions (12.5 and 21.6%) compared to the control. The concentration of OM and Car Zn fractions increased in all biochar treatments compared to control. The highest concentration of OM and Car Zn fractions was observed after application of 2% B200 and 2% B500, respectively. Results showed that application of B350 and B500 had no significant effect on concentration of FeMnOx Zn fraction, while, this concentration significantly increased after B200 was applied. There were no significant (P ≤0.05) differences in concentration of residual Zn fraction among all the biochar treatments. The mean comparison results showed that the concentration of residual Zn in B200 treatments was significantly (P ≤0.05) lower than B350 and B500 treatments. There were no significant differences in this concentration among B500, B350 and the control treatments. Results revealed that in all treatments, different Zn fractions in the soil were distributed in the following order: Res > FeMnOx > Car > OM > Exch. The largest effect of biochars on the change in distribution of Zn fractions of soil was observed at 2% application rate.
It can be concluded that biochar B200 application could be an effective amendment for improving chemical properties and conversion of Zn from less available fractions to fractions with more bioavailability in the calcareous soil. Moreover, the biochar produced at 350 and 500˚C is better suited for enhancing soil organic carbon and Zn stabilization in calcareous soil.
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