Biochar additions to soils: effects on soil microorganisms, carbon stability and N2O emissions


The application of biochar to the soil has recently been put forward as a possible means for climate change mitigation through C sequestration. Biochar addition to soil influences soil micoorganisms in different ways. Indirectly, biochar’s porous nature and reactive internal surface changes the microbial habitat. Additionally, some biochar compounds can be a food source for soil microorganisms.




In my research we try to find an answer to several emerging research questions:

  1. How do biochar characteristics influence biochar degradation?;
  2. Methodological issue: Are microbial assays compatible with biochar-amended soil?
  3. How does short-term biochar stability differ from multi-year biochar stability? Does presence of biochar in the soil still significantly affect microbial activity after multi-year field incorporation and is this effect different than observed in short-term incubations?
  4. Does biochar have an effect on SOM decomposition, and what is the role of soil microorganisms herein?
  5. What are the mechanisms behind N2O emission reductions in biochar-amended soils?

Researcher: dr. ir. Nele Ameloot
Period: 2009-2014
Financing body: UGent, AAP
Promoter: Prof. Steven Sleutel and Prof. Stefaan De Neve