The sustainability of Mediterranean croplands is threatened by climate warming and rainfall reduction. The use of biochar as an amendment represents a tool to store organic carbon (C) in soil. The vulnerability of soil organic C (SOC) to the joint effects of climate change and biochar application needs to be better understood by investigating its main pools. Here, we evaluated the effects of partial rain exclusion (∼30%) and temperature increase (∼2 °C), combined with biochar amendment, on the distribution of soil organic matter (SOM) into particulate organic matter (POM) and the mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM). A set of indices suggested an increase in thermal stability in response to biochar addition in both POM and MAOM fractions. The MAOM fraction, compared to the POM, was particularly enriched in labile substances. Data from micro-Raman spectroscopy suggested that the POM fraction contained biochar particles with a more ordered structure, whereas the structural order decreased in the MAOM fraction, especially after climate manipulation. Crystalline Fe oxides (hematite) and a mix of ferrihydrite and hematite were detected in the POM and in the MAOM fraction, respectively, of the unamended plots under climate manipulation, but not under ambient conditions. Conversely, in the amended soil, climate manipulation did not induce changes in Fe speciation. Our work underlines the importance of discretely taking into account responses of both MAOM and POM to better understand the mechanistic drivers of SOC storage and dynamics.

The effects of biochar on soil organic matter pools are not influenced by climate change

Beatrice Giannetta;Claudio Zaccone
2023-01-01

Abstract

The sustainability of Mediterranean croplands is threatened by climate warming and rainfall reduction. The use of biochar as an amendment represents a tool to store organic carbon (C) in soil. The vulnerability of soil organic C (SOC) to the joint effects of climate change and biochar application needs to be better understood by investigating its main pools. Here, we evaluated the effects of partial rain exclusion (∼30%) and temperature increase (∼2 °C), combined with biochar amendment, on the distribution of soil organic matter (SOM) into particulate organic matter (POM) and the mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM). A set of indices suggested an increase in thermal stability in response to biochar addition in both POM and MAOM fractions. The MAOM fraction, compared to the POM, was particularly enriched in labile substances. Data from micro-Raman spectroscopy suggested that the POM fraction contained biochar particles with a more ordered structure, whereas the structural order decreased in the MAOM fraction, especially after climate manipulation. Crystalline Fe oxides (hematite) and a mix of ferrihydrite and hematite were detected in the POM and in the MAOM fraction, respectively, of the unamended plots under climate manipulation, but not under ambient conditions. Conversely, in the amended soil, climate manipulation did not induce changes in Fe speciation. Our work underlines the importance of discretely taking into account responses of both MAOM and POM to better understand the mechanistic drivers of SOC storage and dynamics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11369/445672
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