Effect of Type, Particle Size and Application Rate of Biochar on Some Physical Properties in a Silty Clay Loam Soil

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


Biochar application has been proposed as a suitable amendment for soil properties to sustainable agriculture. However, its effect depends on biochar application and soil properties. The purpose of this study was to investigate the sole and combined effects of different sources, rates and particle size of biochar on soil bulk density, aggregate stability, penetration resistance and shear strength in a silty clay loam soil. Palm leaf and lemon peel biochar prepared at a pyrolysis temperature of 500∘C with three particle sizes 2–4, 0.8-2 and smaller than 0.8 mm, mixed in the soil at application rates of 0, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 % (by weight). After 15 months (2019 to 2020) incubation at standard condition in research glasshouse of faculty of agriculture Shiraz University, soil properties analyzed by standard methods. In general, the applied biochar decreased soil bulk density, penetration resistance, and shear strength and increased aggregate stability significantly, as compared to the control. Palm leaf biochar played better roles in improving soil properties as compared to lemon peel biochar. On average, by increasing biochar rates to 4%, the soil bulk density, penetration resistance and shear strength decreased by 14.5, 85 and 59.8% respectively and the aggregate stability increased by 50.5%. The greatest effect of biochar was obtained at particle size smaller than 0.8 mm for aggregate stability and penetration resistance. Bulk density and tension strength of the soil did not considerably change using different particle size of biochar. Base on the results, improvement in soil physical properties can be accomplished by application of appropriate particle size and rate of different sources of biochar.


Main Subjects

Ahmed, A., Gariepy, Y. & Raghavan, V. (2017). Influence of wood-derived biochar on the compactibility and strength of silt loam soil. International Agrophysics31(2), 149.
Alkhasha, A., Al-Omran, A. & Aly, A. (2018). Effects of biochar and synthetic polymer on the hydro-physical properties of sandy soils. Sustainability10(12), 4642.
Atkinson, C. J., Fitzgerald, J. D. & Hipps, N. A. (2010). Potential mechanisms for achieving agricultural benefits from biochar application to temperate soils: a review. Plant and Soil337(1), 1-18.
Batista, E. M., Shultz, J., Matos, T. T., Fornari, M. R., Ferreira, T. M., Szpoganicz, B., Freitas, R. A. D. & Mangrich, A. S. (2018). Effect of surface and porosity of biochar on water holding capacity aiming indirectly at preservation of the Amazon biome. Scientific Reports8(1), 1-9.
Behnam, H., Farrokhian Firouzi, A. & Moezzi, A. (2017). Effect of biochar and compost sugarcane bagasse on some soil mechanical properties. Journal of water and soil conservation23(4), 235-250. (In Farsi)
Bhatt, B., Chandra, R., Ram, S. & Pareek, N. (2016). Long-term effects of fertilization and manuring on productivity and soil biological properties under rice (Oryza sativa)–wheat (Triticum aestivum) sequence in Mollisols. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science62(8), 1109-1122.
Blanco-Canqui, H. (2017). Biochar and soil physical properties. Soil Science Society of America Journal81(4), 687-711.
Blanco-Canqui, H. (2021). Does biochar application alleviate soil compaction? Review and data synthesis. Geoderma404, 115317.
Blake, G. R. (1965). Bulk density. Methods of Soil Analysis: Part 1 Physical and Mineralogical Properties, Including Statistics of Measurement and Sampling, 9, 374-390.
Briggs, C., Breiner, J. M. & Graham, R. C. (2012). Physical and chemical properties of Pinus ponderosa charcoal: implications for soil modification. Soil Science177(4), 263-268.
Burrell, L. D., Zehetner, F., Rampazzo, N., Wimmer, B. & Soja, G. (2016). Long-term effects of biochar on soil physical properties. Geoderma, 282, 96–102.
Castellini, M., Giglio, L., Niedda, M., Palumbo, A. D. & Ventrella, D. (2015). Impact of biochar addition on the physical and hydraulic properties of a clay soil. Soil and Tillage Research154, 1-13.
Crane-Droesch, A., Abiven, S., Jeffery, S. & Torn, M. S. (2013). Heterogeneous global crop yield response to biochar: a meta-regression analysis. Environmental Research Letters8(4), 044-049.
Daryaee, R., Moosavi, A. A., Ghasemi, R. & Riazi, M. (2021). Effect of petroleum products on the strength of calcareous soils. Iranian Journal of Soil and Water Research52(10), 2607-2621. (In Farsi)
De Jesus Duarte, S., Glaser, B. & Pellegrino Cerri, C. E. (2019). Effect of biochar particle size on physical, hydrological and chemical properties of loamy and sandy tropical soils. Agronomy9(4), 165.
Edeh, I. G., Mašek, O. & Buss, W. (2020). A meta-analysis on biochar's effects on soil water properties–New insights and future research challenges. Science of the Total Environment714, 136857.
Ganesan, S. P., Bordoloi, S., Ni, J., Sizmur, T., Garg, A. & Sekharan, S. (2020). Exploring implication of variation in biochar production on geotechnical properties of soil. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, 1-11.
Gavili, E., Moosavi, A. A. & Moradi, F. (2018). Assessing cattle manure biochar potential for ameliorating physical soil features and spinach responses under drought stress conditions. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science64(12), 1714-27.
Gee, G. W. & Bauder, J. W. (1986). Particle-size analysis. Methods of soil analysis: Part 1—Physical and mineralogical methods, (methodsofsoilan1), 383-411.
Goyal, R. & Kahlon, M. S. (2022). Soil physico-chemical properties and water productivity of maize as affected by biochar application under different irrigation regimes in northwest India. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis53(9), 1068-1084.
Gümüş, İ., Negiş, H. & Şeker, C. (2022). Effects of two different biochar on physical quality characteristics of a heavy clay soil. Arabian Journal of Geosciences15(9), 1-8.
Han, L., Zhang, B., Chen, L., Feng, Y., Yang, Y. & Sun, K. (2021). Impact of biochar amendment on soil aggregation varied with incubation duration and biochar pyrolysis temperature. Biochar3(3), 339-347.
Horak, J., Simansky, V. & Igaz, D. (2019). Biochar and biochar with N fertilizer impact on soil physical properties in a silty loam Haplic Luvisol. Journal of Ecological Engineering20(7).
Hu, F., Xu, C., Ma, R., Tu, K., Yang, J., Zhao, S., Yang, M. & Zhang, F. (2021). Biochar application driven change in soil internal forces improves aggregate stability: Based on a two-year field study. Geoderma403, 115276.
Iqbal, I. (2018). Effect of sugarcane litter compost on soil compaction. International Journal of Agriculture System6(1), 35-44.
Kemper, W. D. & Rosenau, R. C. (1986). Aggregate stability and size distribution. Methods of soil analysis: Part 1 Physical and mineralogical methods5, 425-442.
Khodarahmi, Y., Boroomand, N. S., Soltani, M. A. & Nasseri, A. A. (2019). Evaluation of modified biochar and zeolite effect on some physical and chemical properties of loamy soil. Journal of Water and Soil Resources Conservation, 8(4), 87-101. (In Farsi)
Khosravani, P., Moosavi, A. A. & Baghernejad, M. (2021). Spatial Variations of Soil Penetration Resistance and Shear Strength and the Effect of Land Use Type and Physiographic Unit on These Characteristics. Iranian Journal of Soil and Water Research52(4), 1041-1057. (In Farsi)
Kinney, T. J., Masiello, C. A., Dugan, B., Hockaday, W. C., Dean, M. R., Zygourakis, K. & Barnes, R. T. (2012). Hydrologic properties of biochars produced at different temperatures. Biomass and Bioenergy41, 34-43.
Kumar, H., Huang, S., Mei, G. & Garg, A. (2021). Influence of feedstock type and particle size on efficiency of biochar in improving tensile crack resistance and shear strength in lean clayey soil. International Journal of Damage Mechanics30(4), 646-661.
Lehmann, J. & Joseph, S. (Eds.). (2015). Biochar for environmental management: science, technology and implementation. Routledge.
Liang, C., Gasco, G., Fu, S., Mendez, A. & Paz-Ferreiro, J. (2016). Biochar from pruning residues as a soil amendment: Effects of pyrolysis temperature and particle size. Soil and Tillage Research, 164, 3-10.
Liu, J., Schulz, H., Brandl, S. Miehtke, H., Huwe, B., & Glaser, B. (2012). Short‐term effect of biochar and compost on soil fertility and water status of a Dystric Cambisol in NE Germany under field conditions. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science175(5), 698-707.
Ma, F., Dai, J., Fu, Z., Li, C., Wen, Y., Jia, M., Wang, Y. & Shi, K. (2022). Biochar for asphalt modification: A case of high-temperature properties improvement. Science of The Total Environment804, 150194.
Moosavi, A. A., Gavili, E. & Masoudi, F. (2019). Effect of Cattle Manure and Palm Residue Biochars Produced at Different Pyrolysis Temperatures on Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity and the Coefficients of Chloride Transportation in a Sandy Loam Soil. Iranian Journal of Soil Research32(4), 553-566. (In Farsi)
Nasimi, P., Karimi, A. & Motaghian, H. R. (2019). Effects of Biochar produced from date palm’s leaves on saturated hydraulic conductivity and soil moisture coefficients of sandy clay loam soil. Iranian Water Research Journal, 13, 161-171. (In Farsi)
Negiş, H., Şeker, C., Gümüş, I., Manirakiza, N. & Mücevher, O. (2020). Effects of biochar and compost applications on penetration resistance and physical quality of a sandy clay loam soil. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis51(1), 38-44.
Novak, J., Sigua, G., Watts, D., Cantrell, K., Shumaker, P., Szogi, A., Johnson, M. G. & Spokas, K. (2016). Biochars impact on water infiltration and water quality through a compacted subsoil layer. Chemosphere142, 160-167.
Pituello, C., Dal Ferro, N., Francioso, O., Simonetti, G., Berti, A., Piccoli, I., Pisi, A. & Morari, F. (2018). Effects of biochar on the dynamics of aggregate stability in clay and sandy loam soils. European Journal of Soil Science69(5), 827-842.
Rahim, H. U., Mian, I. A., Arif, M., Rahim, Z. U., Ahmad, S., Khan, Z., Ayoub Khan, M. & Haris, M. (2019). 3. Residual effect of biochar and summer legumes on soil physical properties and wheat growth. Pure and Applied Biology (PAB)8(1), 16-26.
Razzaghi, F., Obour, P. B. & Arthur, E. (2020). Does biochar improve soil water retention? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Geoderma361, 114055.
Riahi, R., Hatira, A., Baccouche, S. & Nakouri, A. (2018). Development of an empiric model of estimation of the environmental risk of soil physical degradation in the context of climate change application in the Mejerda valley, Tunisia. Journal of African Earth Sciences147, 498-510.
Saffari, N., Hajabbasi, M. A., Shirani, H., Mosaddeghi, M. R. & Owens, G. (2021). Influence of corn residue biochar on water retention and penetration resistance in a calcareous sandy loam soil. Geoderma383, 114734.
Sangani, M. F., Abrishamkesh, S. & Owens, G. (2020). Physicochemical characteristics of biochars can be beneficially manipulated using post-pyrolyzed particle size modification. Bioresource technology306, 123157.
Shaabani Roofchaee, A., Abrishamkesh, S., Shabanpour Shahrestani, M. & Fazeli Sangani, M. (2020). Effect of olive kernel biochar suspension on physical properties and loss of an erosion-prone soil. Environmental Erosion Research Journal10(3), 74-95. (In Farsi)
Singh, H., Northup, B. K., Rice, C. W. & Prasad, P. V. (2022). Biochar applications influence soil physical and chemical properties, microbial diversity, and crop productivity: a meta-analysis. Biochar4(1), 1-17.
Speratti, A. B., Johnson, M. S., Martins Sousa, H., Nunes Torres, G. & Guimarães Couto, E. (2017). Impact of different agricultural waste biochars on maize biomass and soil water content in a Brazilian Cerrado Arenosol. Agronomy7(3), 49.
Sun, F. & Lu, S. (2014). Biochars improve aggregate stability, water retention, and pore-space properties of clayey soil. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 177, 26–33.
Sun, Q., Meng, J., Lan, Y., Shi, G., Yang, X., Cao, D., Chen, W. & Han, X. (2021). Long-term effects of biochar amendment on soil aggregate stability and biological binding agents in brown earth. Catena205, 105460.
Toková, L., Igaz, D., Horák, J. & Aydin, E. (2020). Effect of biochar application and re-application on soil bulk density, porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, water content and soil water availability in a silty loam Haplic Luvisol. Agronomy10(7), 1005.
Wani, I., Kushvaha, V., Garg, A., Kumar, R., Naik, S. & Sharma, P. (2022). Review on effect of biochar on soil strength: Towards exploring usage of biochar in geo-engineering infrastructure. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, 1-32.
Wong, J. T. F., Chen, Z., Chen, X., Ng, C. W. W. & Wong, M. H. (2017). Soil-water retention behavior of compacted biochar-amended clay: a novel landfill final cover material. Journal of soils and sediments17(3), 590-598.
Xue, P., Fu, Q., Li, T., Liu, D., Hou, R., Li, Q., Li, M. & Meng, F. (2022). Effects of biochar and straw application on the soil structure and water-holding and gas transport capacities in seasonally frozen soil areas. Journal of Environmental Management301, 113943.
Yang, C., Liu, J. & Lu, S. (2021). Pyrolysis temperature affects pore characteristics of rice straw and canola stalk biochars and biochar-amended soils. Geoderma397, 115097.
Zanutel, M., Garré, S. & Bielders, C. L. (2022). Long‐term effect of biochar on physical properties of agricultural soils with different textures at pre‐industrial charcoal kiln sites in Wallonia (Belgium). European Journal of Soil Science73(1), e13157.
Zong, Y., Chen, D. & Lu, S. (2014). Impact of biochars on swell–shrinkage behavior, mechanical strength, and surface cracking of clayey soil. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science177(6), 920-926.