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Soil and foliar nutrient and nitrogen isotope composition (δ15N) at 5 years after poultry litter and green waste biochar amendment in a macadamia orchard

journal contribution
posted on 20.06.2018, 00:00 by Shahla Hosseini BaiShahla Hosseini Bai, Chengyuan XuChengyuan Xu, Z Xu, TJ Blumfield, H Zhao, H Wallace, F Reverchon, L Van Zwieten
This study aimed to evaluate the improvement in soil fertility and plant nutrient use in a macadamia orchard following biochar application. The main objectives of this study were to assess the effects of poultry litter and green waste biochar applications on nitrogen (N) cycling using N isotope composition (δ15N) and nutrient availability in a soil-plant system at a macadamia orchard, 5 years following application. Biochar was applied at 10 t ha−1 dry weight but concentrated within a 3-m diameter zone when trees were planted in 2007. Soil and leaf samples were collected in 2012, and both soil and foliar N isotope composition (δ15N) and nutrient concentrations were assessed. Both soil and foliar δ15N increased significantly in the poultry litter biochar plots compared to the green waste biochar and control plots. A significant relationship was observed between soil and plant δ15N. There was no influence of either biochars on foliar total N concentrations or soil NH4+-N and NO3−-N, which suggested that biochar application did not pose any restriction for plant N uptake. Plant bioavailable phosphorus (P) was significantly higher in the poultry litter biochar treatment compared to the green waste biochar treatment and control. We hypothesised that the bioavailability of N and P content of poultry litter biochar may play an important role in increasing soil and plant δ15N and P concentrations. Biochar application affected soil-plant N cycling and there is potential to use soil and plant δ15N to investigate N cycling in a soil-biochar-tree crop system. The poultry litter biochar significantly increased soil fertility compared to the green waste biochar at 5 years following biochar application which makes the poultry litter a better feedstock to produce biochar compared to green waste for the tree crops.








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Springer, Germany

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Griffith University, University of the Sunshine Coast, Yangzhou University, China, Instituto de Ecología, Mexico, NSW Department of Primary Industries

Era Eligible



Environmental Science and Pollution Research