Although biochar amendment could increase crop yield globally, it remains unclear how biochar improves grain yield. A two-year field experiment was conducted to investigate the role of plant roots in promoting crop growth under biochar amendment. The field experiment, started in 2015, was conducted in a rainfed region of North China. We hypothesized that biochar increases maize yield by promoting root growth. In the first year (2015), maize grain yield increased by 23.9% and 25.3% under biochar application rate of 20 and 40 t ha−1, respectively. Biochar increased the biomass of maize stalk and root and their potassium uptake significantly. The root morphology of maize also improved significantly following biochar amendment. Yet, the double increase in biochar application rate did not lead to any additional grain yield increase. The grain yield was positively correlated with the maize ear size, the soil organic carbon content, the biomass of maize stalk and root and their K uptake. In the second year (2016), however, biochar had no effect on the root morphology and the grain yield was not affected. Here we show that biochar increases maize yield by increasing maize ear size directly and by promoting root growth and nutrient uptake indirectly.

Biochar increases maize yield by promoting root growth in the rainfed region

Drosos M.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Although biochar amendment could increase crop yield globally, it remains unclear how biochar improves grain yield. A two-year field experiment was conducted to investigate the role of plant roots in promoting crop growth under biochar amendment. The field experiment, started in 2015, was conducted in a rainfed region of North China. We hypothesized that biochar increases maize yield by promoting root growth. In the first year (2015), maize grain yield increased by 23.9% and 25.3% under biochar application rate of 20 and 40 t ha−1, respectively. Biochar increased the biomass of maize stalk and root and their potassium uptake significantly. The root morphology of maize also improved significantly following biochar amendment. Yet, the double increase in biochar application rate did not lead to any additional grain yield increase. The grain yield was positively correlated with the maize ear size, the soil organic carbon content, the biomass of maize stalk and root and their K uptake. In the second year (2016), however, biochar had no effect on the root morphology and the grain yield was not affected. Here we show that biochar increases maize yield by increasing maize ear size directly and by promoting root growth and nutrient uptake indirectly.
2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/160893
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