- Vegetables: sweet corn
- Crop Production: application rate management
- Education and Training: extension
- Production Systems: agroecosystems
- Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Biochar has been gaining popularity as a potentially sustainable management method to increase soil health while sequestering carbon and increasing the global soil carbon pool. Research on biochar’s influence on soil health has been increasing, yet there is still a significant lack of published studies focused on the effects of biochar on the diversity of soil biota. Moreover, the majority of documented research was conducted in controlled conditions. As biological activity is a key component of soil quality, it is vital to understand the influences of biochar on soil biota at the field level. The objectives of this study are to 1) characterize changes in physiochemical properties of soils amended with biochar 2) analyze nematode community indices and the bacteriovores to fungivores ratio in biochar amended field plots and to 3) evaluate changes in native soil bacteria as a result of biochar application. In this study the key soil nutrient concentrations and other soil physical properties will be analyzed. Nematode species will be identified and counted, bacterial DNA will be extracted and an RNA-based phylogeny of species in biochar amended field soil will be created and compared with control field soil. The data obtained from this work will contribute to the understanding of biochar’s influence on soil biota and determine if biochar is a suitable and viable soil amendment for improving soil quality in northeastern agricultural soils.
Project objectives from proposal:
Main objectives are to:
- Characterize changes in physiochemical properties of soils amended with biochar.
- Calculate and analyze nematode community indices and the bacteriovores to fungivores ratio in biochar amended field plots.
- Evaluate changes in native soil bacteria as a result of biochar application.