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Aged biochar alters nitrogen pathways in bauxite-processing residue sand: Environmental impact and biogeochemical mechanisms

Rezaei Rashti, M., Esfandbod, M., Phillips, I. R. and Chen, C. R. (2019) Aged biochar alters nitrogen pathways in bauxite-processing residue sand: Environmental impact and biogeochemical mechanisms. Environmental Pollution, 247 . pp. 438-446. ISSN 0269-7491

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.01.034

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749118343240

Abstract

Low nitrogen (N) content and retention in bauxite-processing residue sand (BRS) disposal areas pose a great challenge to the establishment of sustainable vegetation cover in this highly alkaline environment. The budget and fate of applied N in BRS and its potential environmental impacts are largely unknown. We investigated the effect of combined application of biochars [aged acidic (AC) vs alkaline pine (PC)] and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertiliser on ammonia (NH3) volatilisation, nitrous oxide (N2O) emission and N retention in a 116-day glasshouse study. The application of AC to BRS decreased pH (≈0.5 units) in BRS, while PC biochar increased pH (≈0.3 units). The application of AC reduced NH3 volatilisation by ca. 80%, while PC by ca. 25%. On the other hand, the AC treatment increased N2O emission by 5 folds. However, the N loss via N2O emission in the AC treatment only accounted for ca. 0.4% of applied N. The reduction in BRS pH and increased retention of mineral N due to the presence of oxygen-containing (phenolic and carboxylic) functional groups in AC may be responsible for reduced NH3 volatilisation and increased N2O emission. This study has highlighted the potential of biochar (particularly aged biochar) in improving N retention and minimising environmental impacts in highly alkaline environments.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Bauxite-processing residue sand Aged acidic biochar Nitrogen loss Rehabilitation
Subjects:Science > Science (General)
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural ecology (General)
Deposited On:05 Mar 2019 22:43
Last Modified:05 Mar 2019 22:43

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