Browsing by Subject "N leaching"

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  • Kalu, Subin; Oyekoya, Gboyega N; Ambus, Per; Tammeorg, Priit; Simojoki, Asko; Pihlatie, Mari; Karhu, Kristiina (2021)
    A 15N tracing pot experiment was conducted using two types of wood-based biochars: a regular biochar and a Kon-Tiki-produced nutrient-enriched biochar, at two application rates (1% and 5% (w/w)), in addition to a fertilizer only and a control treatment. Ryegrass was sown in pots, all of which except controls received N-15-labelled fertilizer as either (NH4NO3)-N-15 or (NH4NO3)-N-15. We quantified the effect of biochar application on soil N2O emissions, as well as the fate of fertilizer-derived ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) in terms of their leaching from the soil, uptake into plant biomass, and recovery in the soil. We found that application of biochars reduced soil mineral N leaching and N2O emissions. Similarly, the higher biochar application rate of 5% significantly increased aboveground ryegrass biomass yield. However, no differences in N2O emissions and ryegrass biomass yields were observed between regular and nutrient-enriched biochar treatments, although mineral N leaching tended to be lower in the nutrient-enriched biochar treatment than in the regular biochar treatment. The N-15 analysis revealed that biochar application increased the plant uptake of added nitrate, but reduced the plant uptake of added ammonium compared to the fertilizer only treatment. Thus, the uptake of total N derived from added NH4NO3 fertilizer was not affected by the biochar addition, and cannot explain the increase in plant biomass in biochar treatments. Instead, the increased plant biomass at the higher biochar application rate was attributed to the enhanced uptake of N derived from soil. This suggests that the interactions between biochar and native soil organic N may be important determinants of the availability of soil N to plant growth.
  • Yli-Halla, Markku; Virtanen, Seija; Regina, Kristiina; Österholm, Peter; Ehnvall, Betty; Uusi-Kämppä, Jaana (2020)
    Besides causing acidification, acid sulfate (AS) soils contain large nitrogen (N) stocks and are a potential source of N loading to waters and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. We quantified the stocks and flows of N, including crop yields, N leaching, and N2O emissions, in a cultivated AS soil in western Finland. We also investigated whether controlled drainage (CD) and sub-irrigation (CDI) to keep the sulfidic horizons inundated can alleviate N losses. Total N stock at 0-100 cm (19.5 Mg ha(-1)) was smaller than at 100-200 cm (26.6 Mg ha(-1)), and the mineral N stock was largest below 170 cm. Annual N leaching (31-91 kg N ha(-1)) plus N in harvested grain (74-122 kg N ha(-1)) was 148% (range 118-189%) of N applied in fertilizers (90-125 kg N ha(-1)) in 2011-2017, suggesting substantial N supply from soil reserves. Annual emissions of N2O measured during 2 years were 8-28 kg N ha(-1). The most probable reasons for high N2O emission rates in AS soils are concomitant large mineral N pools with fluctuating redox conditions and low pH in the oxidized subsoil, all favoring formation of N2O in nitrification and denitrification. Although the groundwater level was higher in CD and CDI than in conventional drainage, N load and crop offtake did not differ between the drainage methods, but there were differences in emissions. Nitrogen flows to the atmosphere and drainage water were clearly larger than those in non-AS mineral soils indicating that AS soils are potential hotspots of environmental impacts.
  • Karhu, Kristiina; Kalu, Subin; Seppänen, Aino; Kitzler, Barbara; Virtanen, Eetu (2021)
    Addition of biochar to soil has been shown to reduce nitrogen (N) leaching in pot experiments, but direct field measurements are scarce, and data is lacking especially from colder, boreal conditions. We studied the effect of soil organic amendments on nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) leaching using the resin bag method, by placing the bags containing ion-exchange resins under the plough layer. We compared N leaching under five different treatments at the Päästösäästö project site (Soilfood Oy) in Parainen, south-western Finland: non-fertilized control, fertilized control, and three different organic amendments: spruce biochar, willow biochar and nutrient fiber. During the 2017 growing season, resin bags were changed monthly between the end of May and beginning of September, extracted with 1 M NaCl, and analyzed for inorganic N. The daily leaching rate of NO3- was greatest at the beginning of the growing season, right after fertilization. Ammonium leaching was generally lower, and independent of the time since fertilization. The spruce biochar reduced cumulative NO3- leaching by 68% compared to the fertilized control. The NH4+leaching in the organic amendment treatments did not statistically significantly differ from the fertilized control in pairwise comparisons. In October 2017, after harvesting, the resin bags were placed under soil columns again, and left in the soil over winter to accumulate N leached during the plant-free period. Cumulative NO3- leaching during winter was consistent with the corresponding summer results, and average leaching decreased in the order: willow biochar >fertilized control >nutrient fiber >non-fertilized control >spruce biochar. Thus, we show here, for the first time in a field study from boreal conditions that spruce biochar soil application decreased nitrate leaching, while increasing its retention in the surface layer of the biochar-amended soil.