Forms and solubility of plant nutrient elements in tropical plant waste biochars

N. Prakongkep, Robert Gilkes, W. Wiriyakitnateekul

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    43 Citations (Scopus)


    Copyright © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, WeinheimThailand is an agriculture-based country which produces large amounts of agricultural waste. Making biochar from this waste can reduce pollution, decrease costs of production, and increase C sequestration. The agronomic benefits of biochar are partly derived from the available plant nutrients in biochar. This study investigated the fertilizer value of biochars manufactured by slow pyrolysis. Pyrolysis temperature and feedstock type affect nutrient concentrations and nutrient element speciation in biochar. The physio-chemical, mineralogical and structural properties of biochars made from 14 agriculture wastes (soybean cake, corncob, lemon peel, sugar palm fibre, durian shell, tamarind wood, coconut fibre, coconut shell, bamboo wood, rice husk, eucalyptus wood, oil palm fruit, coffee waste, and bagasse) were investigated. The plant nutrients in biochar mostly occurred in crystalline minerals which were present on the surface and inside the cell structure of biochar. Most biochars examined in this research contained calcite (CaCO3). The presence in biochars of several K-minerals [archerite (KH2PO4), chlorocalcite (KCaCl3), kalicinite (KHCO3), pyrocoproite (K2MgP2O7), struvite-K (KMgPO4 · 6 H2O), and sylvite (KCl)] encourages the use of biochar as a K-fertilizer. Fibre, fruit and wood biochars contained considerable amounts of K, Ca, and P. Sugar palm and coconut fibres also contained high level of Na in halite. This study recommends the utilization of biochars manufactured from sugar palm fibre, coconut fibre, durian shell, and oil palm fruit as fertilizers. With their appreciable contents of plant nutrients in highly to moderately soluble compounds these biochars should be effective fertilizers, especially for use by organic farmers who cannot use any chemical fertilizers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)732-740
    JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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