Biochar-induced concomitant decrease in ammonia volatilization and increase in nitrogen use efficiency by wheat

Sanchita Mandal, Ramya Thangarajan, Nanthi S. Bolan, Binoy Sarkar, Naser Khan, Yong Sik Ok, Ravi Naidu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

250 Citations (Scopus)


Ammonia (NH3) volatilization is a major nitrogen (N) loss from the soil, especially under tropical conditions, NH3 volatilization results in low N use efficiency by crops. Incubation experiments were conducted using five soils (pH 5.5-9.0), three N sources such as, urea, di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), and poultry manure (PM) and two biochars such as, poultry litter biochar (PL-BC) and macadamia nut shell biochar (MS-BC). Ammonia volatilization was higher at soil with higher pH (pH exceeding 8) due to the increased hydroxyl ions. Among the N sources, urea recorded the highest NH3 volatilization (151.6mgkg-1soil) followed by PM (124.2mgkg-1soil) and DAP (99mgkg-1soil). Ammonia volatilization was reduced by approximately 70% with PL-BC and MS-BC. The decreased NH3 volatilization with biochars is attributed to multiple mechanisms such as NH3 adsorption/immobilization, and nitrification. Moreover, biochar increased wheat dry weight and N uptake as high as by 24.24% and 76.11%, respectively. This study unravels the immense potential of biochar in decreasing N volatilization from soils and simultaneously improving use efficiency by wheat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by the CERAR (Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation) Honours Scholarship , CRC CARE (Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment) and the Barbara Hardy Institute and Natural Resource Management Honours Scholarship at the University of South Australia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ammonia volatilization
  • Biochar
  • Nitrogen dynamics
  • PH
  • Urea
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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