Marks E.A.N., Mattana S., Alcañiz J.M., Pérez-Herrero E., Domene X. (2016) Gasifier biochar effects on nutrient availability, organic matter mineralization, and soil fauna activity in a multi-year Mediterranean trial. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 215: 30-39.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.agee.2015.09.004
Gasifier pine biochar is a carbon-rich material which may be useful as a soil amendment. In Europe and elsewhere there may be potential added value of char produced in industrial gasifiers, up to now considered as wastes. Pine gasification biochar was tested as a soil amendment in a multi-year Mediterranean barley crop field trial, applied at 12 and 50tha-1 while applying half the usual N rate at 50kgha-1, contrasted with a full 100kg ha-1 N fertilizer treatment without biochar. Over the 6-30 month period following the application, biochar treatments did not have any significant effect on soil microbial biomass, respiration, or metabolic coefficient. N mineralization as NO3 - was decreased by biochar at 6 and 12 months from experiment start and coincided with ammonium accumulation. Biochar increased overall soil concentrations of K+ and SO4 2-, attributed to a direct additive effect, agreeing with data from other sources. Biochar treatments (with half usual N fertilization) did not have any significant effects on barley crop parameters, and when biochar treatments were contrasted against full N fertilization with no biochar, the usual N dosage was clearly more beneficial to crop development. Finally, soil fauna activity was negatively impacted by gasifier biochar treatments in years two and three, indicating a risk to soil processes mediated by soil invertebrates. Though this gasifier biochar is expected to be highly stable and therefore of interest for carbon sequestration, its utilization therefore risks negative effects on some biologically-mediated soil processes at high application rates. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Ojeda, G., Patrício, J., Mattana, S., Sobral, A.J.F.N. (2016) Effects of biochar addition to estuarine sediments. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 16: 2482-2491.LinkDoi: 10.1007/s11368-016-1493-3
Lloret F., Mattana S., Yuste J.C. (2015) Climate-induced die-offaffects plant-soil-microbe ecological relationship and functioning. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 91: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1093/femsec/iu014
This study reports the relationship between the diversity and functioning of fungal and bacterial soil communities with vegetation in Mediterranean woodland that experienced severe die-offafter a drought episode. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorfism (TRFLP) was used to describe microbial community structure and diversity five years after the episode in different habitats (Juniperus woodland, shrubland, grassland), when the vegetation had not yet recovered. Vegetation diversity was positively related to TRF bacterial richness under unaffected canopies and was higher in diverse grassland. Fungal TRF richness correlated with vegetation type, being greater in Juniperus woodland. Microbial respiration increased in grassland, whereas microbial biomass, estimated from soil substrate-induced respiration (SIR), decreased with bacterial diversity. Die-offincreased bacterial richness and changed bacterial composition, particularly in Juniperus woodland, where herbaceous species increased, while fungal diversity was reduced in Juniperus woodland. Die-offincreased microbial respiration rates. The impact on vegetation from extreme weather episodes spread to microbial communities by modifying vegetation composition and litter quantity and quality, particularly as a result of the increase in herbaceous species. Our results suggest that climate-induced die-offtriggers significant cascade effects on soil microbial communities, which may in turn further influence ecosystem C dynamics. © FEMS 2014. All rights reserved.
Ojeda G., Mattana S., Avila A., Alcaniz J.M., Volkmann M., Bachmann J. (2015) Are soil-water functions affected by biochar application?. Geoderma. 249-250: 1-11.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2015.02.014
Today biochar is considered a stable-carbon source that is able to improve soil quality. However, although biochar effects on some soil properties are already becoming well known, its impact on complex soil hydrological functions has yet to be better assessed. The main objectives are: (a) to determine the impact of different biochar amendments on important physical and chemical soil properties and (b) to determine whether the origin (biomass or sewage sludge) and pyrolysis technique can change biochar properties and regulate biochar influence on important soil functions, i.e. nutrient release, water sorption, and carbon storage. Six types of biochar produced from different biomass sources (pine, poplar or sludge) and pyrolysis processes (slow, fast or gasification) were applied to a sandy-loam, low-organic-matter, calcareous soil (mean dose: 18. g/kg) and incubated in a greenhouse without seeding. Two sampling campaigns, one month and one year after biochar amendments, were performed. The overall impact of biochar, analysed by principal response curves (PRCs), indicated that it could improve or deteriorate soil hydrological properties at different intensities. Soil wettability was modified due to sludge biochar addition to soil by increased water penetration dynamics during the capillary rise process of about 18%. In contrast, water storage as a soil function during soil drying was not affected. Because no differences on aggregate stability were observed between treatments, increments on soil organic carbon could not be related to biochar physical protection caused by aggregate formation or by enhanced aggregate stability. As a result, carbon storage, considered as a soil function provided by biochar, was mainly related to its chemical stability. On the other hand, nutrient flux during soil slaking was improved, increasing nutrient release from soil to water. In terms of biochar properties, an increment of surface wettability of biochar during water drop penetration was observed after one year of its addition to soil, where the mean values of contact angle (CA) decreased 69.5%. This important result suggest that initial biochar hydrophobicity (CA. >. 90°) disappeared after 1. year. It was observed that PRC analysis was able to identify important key soil properties that should be monitored when biochar is used as soil amendment. We conclude that the impact of biochar on soil functions depends mainly on biochar feedstock rather than on the pyrolysis technique used during its production. In general, the performance of biochar obtained from sludge and vegetal biomass was markedly different. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Domene X., Mattana S., Hanley K., Enders A., Lehmann J. (2014) Medium-term effects of corn biochar addition on soil biota activities and functions in a temperate soil cropped to corn. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 72: 152-162.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.01.035
Biochar addition to soil has been generally associated with crop yield increases observed in some soils, and increased nutrient availability is one of the mechanisms proposed. Any impact of biochar on soil organisms can potentially translate to changes in nutrient availability and crop productivity, possibly explaining some of the beneficial and detrimental yield effects reported in literature. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to assess the medium-term impact of biochar addition on microbial and faunal activities in a temperate soil cropped to corn and the consequences for their main functions, litter decomposition and mineralization. Biochar was added to a corn field at rates of 0, 3, 12, 30tonsha-1 three years prior to this study, in comparison to an annual application of 1tha-1.Biochar application increased microbial abundance, which nearly doubled at the highest addition rate, while mesofauna activity, and litter decomposition facilitated by mesofauna were not increased significantly but were positively influenced by biochar addition when these responses were modeled, and in the last case directly and positively associated to the higher microbial abundance. In addition, in short-term laboratory experiments after the addition of litter, biochar presence increased NO2+NO3 mineralization, and decreased that of SO4 and Cl. However, those nutrient effects were not shown to be of concern at the field scale, where only some significant increases in SOC, pH, Cl and PO4 were observed.Therefore, no negative impacts in the soil biota activities and functions assessed were observed for the tested alkaline biochar after three years of the application, although this trend needs to be verified for other soil and biochar types. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Marks E.A.N., Mattana S., Alcaniz J.M., Domene X. (2014) Biochars provoke diverse soil mesofauna reproductive responses inlaboratory bioassays. European Journal of Soil Biology. 60: 104-111.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.ejsobi.2013.12.002
Biochar application to soil has the potential to improve soil fertility under certain conditions. However, potential ecological effects remain largely unexplored and poorly understood, particularly those on soil biota. Six biochars were tested on two soil-dwelling invertebrates in short-term bioassays to determine effects on survival and reproduction. A pine wood gasification char increased collembolan adult mortality at high concentrations. Wood slow and fast pyrolysis biochars had a strong stimulatory effect on collembolan reproduction, but no strong effect on enchytraeids. A sewage sludge char was slightly stimulatory for both organisms, and a pine gasification char was inhibitory in both cases. Inhibitory effects were associated with biochars with high carbonate and Ca content and pH. In light of the high stimulation of collembolan reproduction, potential explanations such as soil microbial community shifts or gut symbiont use of biochar are suggested. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.
Mattana S., Petrovicova B., Landi L., Gelsomino A., Cortes P., Ortiz O., Renella G. (2014) Sewage sludge processing determines its impact on soil microbial community structure and function. Applied Soil Ecology. 75: 150-161.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2013.11.007
Composting and thermal drying are amongst the most commonly used post-digestion processes for allowing sanitation and biological stabilization of sewage sludge from municipal treatment plants, and making it suitable as soil conditioner for use in agriculture. To assess the impact of sludge-derived materials on soil microbial properties, fresh (LAF), composted (LAC) and thermally dried (LAT) sludge fractions, each resulting from a different post-treatment process of a same aerobically digested sewage sludge, were added at 1% (w/w) application rate on two contrasting (a loam and a loamy sand) soils and incubated under laboratory conditions for 28 days. Soil respiration, microbial ATP content, hydrolytic activities and arginine ammonification rate were monitored throughout the incubation period. Results showed that soil biochemical variables, including the metabolic quotient (qCO2), were markedly stimulated after sludge application, and the magnitude of this stimulatory effect was dependent on sludge type (precisely LAT>LAF>LAC), but not on soil type. This effect was related to the content of stable organic matter, which was lower in LAT. Genetic fingerprinting by PCR-DGGE revealed that compositional shifts of soil bacterial and, at greater extent, actinobacterial communities were responsive to the amendment with a differing sludge fraction. The observed time-dependent changes in the DGGE profiles of amended soils reflected the microbial turnover dependent on the sludge nutrient input, whereas no indications of adverse effects of sludge-borne contaminants were noted. Our findings indicate that composting rather thermal drying can represent a more appropriate post-digestion process to make sewage sludge suitable for use as soil conditioner in agriculture. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Ribas A, Llurba R, Ojeda G, Mattana S, Debrouk H, Sebastià T, Domene X (2012) Biochar application on a Mediterranean barley crop could reduce soil CH4, N2O and NH3 emissions (Póster) Workshop Biochar as option for sustainable resource management: An European Perspective - EU COST Action TD 1107. 24-25. Chania,
Asensio D., Yuste J.C., Mattana S., Ribas À., Llusià J., Peñuelas J. (2012) Litter VOCs induce changes in soil microbial biomass C and N and largely increase soil CO 2 efflux. Plant and Soil. 360: 163-174.LinkDoi: 10.1007/s11104-012-1220-9
Aims: We investigated the effects of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by pine litter, specifically terpenes, on soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen and heterotrophic soil respiration under different microclimatic scenarios of water availability and temperature. Methods: Soil in glass jars (0.6 L headspace) was exposed to pine needle litter, avoiding any physical contact between soils and litter. Treatments were subjected to two moisture levels, control and drought (20 % and 10 % gravimetric soil water content respectively) and to different temperatures (temperature response curve from 5 °C to 45 °C). Results: In control soils, exposure to litter was associated with a significant decrease in microbial biomass carbon and ninhydrin extractable organic nitrogen, and with a significant increase in heterotrophic respiration (up to 46 %) under optimum temperature (25 °C). Drought, on the other hand, restricted the effects of litter exposure on heterotrophic respiration but exposure to litter was associated with a significant increase in microbial biomass nitrogen. We did not detect significant overall microbial consumption of terpenes in this study. Conclusions: These results suggest either that other VOCs not measured in the study were being consumed and/or that VOCs emissions were triggering strong changes in the composition and functioning of soil microbial communities. More studies under field conditions are needed to assess the magnitude of litter VOCs effects on carbon and nitrogen cycles. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Ribas A, Llurba R, Ojeda R, Ojeda G, Mattana S, Goriveau F, Sebastià T, Domene X (2012) Influencia de las aplicaciones de biochar en cultivo de cebada en las emisiones de gases invernadero (Póster) En: 1st Workshop on Mitigation of GHG Emissions from Spanish Agroforestry Sector (REMEDIA 2012), Bilbao, 8-9 marzo 2012.
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