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15.08.2013

COST Action TD1107 Biochar as option for sustainable resource management, 2011-2015

 Experimental work with biochar has started after the first meeting of the COST action TD1107 in March 2012. Experiments can be divided into three parts, i.e., agriculture, soil remediation and testing of biochar as a potential carrier for bacteria attachment (Fig.1). At this moment, seven institutions from four countries are involved in the experiments. The results were summarized and presented at the Biochar workshop in September, 2012 (Chania. Greece).

 

 

 

Fig.1. Fields of research on biochar represented in the experiments performed in Latvia, 2012.

Partners involved in the experiments are as follows:

  1. LV - Institute of Microbiology & Biotechnology, University of Latvia (principal investigator – Dr.Olga Muter)
  2. LV - Latvia Agriculture University (principal investigator – Dr.Silvija Strikauska)
  3. LV - Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry (principal investigator – Dr.Galina Telysheva)
  4. LV - Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health, and Environment (principal investigator – Dr.Vadims Bartkevics)
  5. EE - Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu (principal investigator – Dr.Jaak Truu)
  6. DK - BlackCarbon A/S (principal investigator – Dr.Christoph Steiner)
  7. DE - Department of Plant Ecology, Justus-Liebig-University (principal investigator – Dr.Claudia Kammann)

The experiments with biochar in Latvia in 2012-2013 were conducted both, in pots and under microfield conditions (Fig.2,3). Woodchips- and straw-derived biochars were compared in different soil types and at different loading rates. Investigation was mostly focused on the evaluation of plant growth (Cucumis sativus L., Lepidium sativum L., Pisum sativum L., Raphanus sativus L., Secale cereale L., Trigonella foenum-graecum L.), soil microbial activity (enzyme activity, basal and substrate induced respiration, etc.) and physico-chemical properties of soil (liming effect, buffering capacity, C:N ratio, etc.) in dependence on biochar type and its concentration.

In pot experiments, the retarding effect of straw-derived biochar on MCPA degradation in sandy soil was shown. The effect of biochar on soil biological parameters was dependent on soil type. The results are summarized in the manuscript currently submitted for publication. 

The use of different types of biochar in agriculture for soil quality improvement attracts a great attention of both, researchers and farmers.The effect of comparatively low rates (70-280 kg ha-1) of biochar obtained via gasification, on the growth of pea Pisum sativum L. “Avola” was studied under microfield conditions in cooperation with the Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry and Latvia Agriculture University. The aim of another series of our experiments was to study the physico-chemical and biological changes occurred in a peat-sand substrate with addition of BC in different concentrations, using cucumber Cucumis sativus L. “Grīvas” as a test plant. 

This work was supported by National Research Programme of Latvia (programme No. 2010.10-4/VPP-5 "Sustainable Use of Local Resources (Mineral Deposits, Forests, Food and Transport) - New Products and Technologies".

        

Fig.2. Pot experiments with radish, fenugreek etc. (Santa Kaļva)                                  Fig.3. Microfield experiments with pea, carrot, etc. (Ēriks Strikauskis) 

 

Main topics of the study on characterization of BCs as a carrier for microorganism colonization are shown in Figure 4. Light microscopy, as well as SEM is applied for visualization of single cells and microcolonies onto the surface of BCs (Fig.5).

 

 

Fig.4. Main topics of the study on characterization of BCs as a carrier for microorganism colonization.

                               

 

Fig.5. Light micrographs (dark field) of biochars after 48h incubation with Ps.fluorescensColonies of bacteria are shown by arrows.