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Wheat and maize-derived water-washed and unwashed biochar improved the nutrients phytoavailability and the grain and straw yield of rice and wheat: A field trial for sustainable management of paddy soils, Korai, Punhoon Khan, Sial Tanveer Ali, Pan Genxing, Abdelrahman Hamada, Sikdar Ashim, Kumbhar Farhana, Channa Siraj Ahmed, Ali Esmat F., Zhang Jianguo, Rinklebe Jörg, et al. , Journal of Environmental Management, 2021, Volume 297, p.113250, (2021) AbstractWebsite

A field experiment was carried out to evaluate the effects of different biochars on grain yield and phytoavailability and uptake of macro- and micro-nutrients by rice and wheat grown in a paddy soil in a rotation. Soil was treated with i) maize raw (un-washed) biochar (MRB), ii) maize water-washed biochar (MWB), iii) wheat raw biochar (WRB) or iv) wheat water-washed biochar (WWB) and untreated soil was used as control (CF). Inorganic fertilizers were applied to all soils while biochar treated soils received 20 ton ha−1 of designated biochar before rice cultivation in rice-wheat rotation. The WRB significantly (P < 0.05) increased rice grain yield and straw by up to 49%, compared to the CF. Biochar addition, particularly WRB, significantly increased the availability of N, P, K and their content in the grain (26–37%) and straw (22–37%) of rice and wheat. Also, the availability and grain content of Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu increased significantly after biochar addition, particularly after the WRB, due to WRB water dissolved C acting as a carrier for micronutrients in soil and plant. However, the water-washing process altered biochar properties, particularly the water extractable C, which decreased its efficiency. Both wheat- and maize-derived biochars, particularly the WRB, are recommended to improve nutrients availability and to improve grain yield in the rice-wheat rotation agro-ecosystem. These results shed light on the importance of crop straw transformation into an important source for soil C and nutrients necessary for sustainable management of wheat-rice agro-ecosystem. However, with the current and future alternative energy demands, the decision on using crop biomass for soil conservation or for bioenergy becomes a challenge reliant on regulatory and policy frameworks.