Sunday 1 May 2016

Build-up of carbon fractions in technosol-biochar amended partially reclaimed mine soil grown with Brassica juncea

Journal of Soils and Sediments
May 2016, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1529–1537
DOI: 10.1007/s11368-016-1358-9

Soil organic carbon (SOC) and its labile fractions are strong determinants of physical, chemical and biological properties. The objective of the present work was to evaluate the effects of organic amendments (technosol made of wastes and biochar) and Brassica juncea L. on the soil C fractions in a reclaimed mine soil.

The studied soil was from a former copper mine that was subsequently partially reclaimed with vegetation and wastes. A greenhouse experiment was carried out to amend the mine soil with different proportions of technosol and biochar mixture and planting B. juncea. B. juncea plants can tolerate high levels of metals and can produce a large amount of biomass in relatively short periods of time.

The results showed that with the addition of biochar and wastes, soil pH increased from 2.7 to 6.18, SOC from undetectable to 105 g kg−1 and soil total nitrogen (TN) from undetectable to 11.4 g kg−1. Amending with wastes and biochar also increased dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from undetectable to 5.82 g kg−1, carbon in the free organic matter (FOM) from undetectable to 30.42 g kg−1, FAP (carbon in fulvic acids removed with phosphoric acid) from undetectable to 24.14 g kg−1 and also increased the humification ratio, the humification index, the polymerisation rate and the organic carbon in the humified fractions (humic acids, fulvic acids and humin). Soils amended and vegetated with B. juncea showed lower FOM values and higher humification index values than the soils amended only with biochar and wastes.

This study concludes that the combined addition of wastes and biochar has a greater potential for both increasing and improving organic carbon fractions in mine soils. The authors recommend the application of biochar and technosol made of wastes as a soil amendment combined with B. juncea on soils that are deficient in organic matter, since they increased all of the SOC fractions in the studied copper mine soil.