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Biochar-induced concomitant decrease in ammonia volatilization and increase in nitrogen use efficiency by wheat

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Sanchita Mandal
  • Ramya Thangarajan
  • Nanthi S. Bolan
  • Binoy Sarkar
  • Naser Khan
  • Yong Sik Ok
  • Ravi Naidu
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2016
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)120-127
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/05/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Ammonia (NH3) volatilization is a major nitrogen (N) loss from the soil, especially under tropical conditions, NH3 volatilization results in low N use efficiency by crops. Incubation experiments were conducted using five soils (pH 5.5–9.0), three N sources such as, urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), and poultry manure (PM) and two biochars such as, poultry litter biochar (PL-BC) and macadamia nut shell biochar (MS-BC). Ammonia volatilization was higher at soil with higher pH (pH exceeding 8) due to the increased hydroxyl ions. Among the N sources, urea recorded the highest NH3 volatilization (151.6 mg kg−1 soil) followed by PM (124.2 mg kg−1 soil) and DAP (99 mg kg−1 soil). Ammonia volatilization was reduced by approximately 70% with PL-BC and MS-BC. The decreased NH3 volatilization with biochars is attributed to multiple mechanisms such as NH3 adsorption/immobilization, and nitrification. Moreover, biochar increased wheat dry weight and N uptake as high as by 24.24% and 76.11%, respectively. This study unravels the immense potential of biochar in decreasing N volatilization from soils and simultaneously improving use efficiency by wheat.