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The effects of two different biochars on earthworm survival and microbial carbon levels
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Biochar is a material created from the thermoconversion of biomass through pyrolysis for the production of bio-energy. The use of biochar as a soil amendment has been proposed as a means to sequester carbon, thus offsetting the release of CO2. Management strategies for the use of biochar as a soil amendment are still in development, and the effect of adding biochar to soil on soil organisms, in particular earthworms, is virtually unknown. We studied the effect of two different biochars, pine chip biochar and poultry litter biochar, on earthworm growth and survival in incubated mesosocoms in two different field soils, as well as the effect of the two biochars and earthworms on soil microbial carbon biomass. The poultry litter char adversely affected earthworm survival, but resulted in higher levels of microbial carbon, especially at the higher rates of application. The pine char had a higher survival rate, and did not show any change in the microbial carbon levels.
[Brisbane, Qld. : The Congress], 2010.
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