Biochar as an amendment for sustainable soil fertility of highly weathered dry land soils on Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka

Hypothesis

Addition of biochar and uncharred organic amendments on highly weathered soils enhances overall soil quality and fertility, allowing higher yields with minimal external inputs.

Objectives

Quantify the effects of additions of locally available organic amendments and locally produced biochar on soil fertility, soil quality and nutrient losses

jegajeevagan

Methods

Biochar produced from three types of biomass materials, namely coconut shells, Palmyra nutshells (Borassus flabellifer L.) and rice husk; locally as well as at Ghent University – Dept. Bio System Engineering- biochar reactor.

Field experiment for 2 consecutive years -  three types of biochar, mineral fertilizers with combination of organic manure included with the “farmer practice” treatment.

    • Functional groups and thermolability  by  Pyrolysis filed ionization mass spectroscopy analysis
    • Specific surface area measurements by BET measurements
    • Biological soil quality measurements by Enzymes activities, Microbial biomass C and PLFA signatures of microbial diversity
    • Laboratory nitrogen leaching experiments in columns
    • Laboratory N mineralization assessment from SOM and biochar amended soils
    • Physico chemical characterization of biochars and soils
    • SOC, CEC, pH, Available P, exchangeable cations

    Researcher: MSc. Kanagaratnam Jegajeevagan
    Period : 2010-2014
    Financing body : VLIR-UOS
    Promoter : Prof. Stefaan De Neve and Prof. Steven Sleutel