Effect of corn residue biochar on the hydraulic properties of sandy loam soil

Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Yong Sik Ok, Nabeel Khan Niazi, Muhammad Rizwan, Mohammad I. Al-Wabel, Adel R.A. Usman, Deok Hyun Moon, Sang Soo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Biochar has an ability to alter the biological, chemical, and physical properties of soil due to its physicochemical properties such as surface area, porosity, nutrient retention ability, available nutrient contents, aromaticity, etc. The present study was designed to evaluate the impact of physical properties and application rate of biochar on the hydraulic properties of a sandy loam soil in the short term. Biochar was produced at 500 °C from dried corn residue (BC500). The BC500 was incorporated at the rates of 0, 2.5%, 5.0%, 7.5%, and 10% (w·w-1) into the sandy loam soil and filled up to a height of 4 cm, in cores having 5 cm diameter and height. Each treatment was performed in triplicate and equilibrated for 30 days. Then saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat), water holding capacity (WHC), and bulk density were determined in each sample after four days of saturation at room temperature in a water bath. The BC500 particle size distribution, pores, and surface functional groups were assessed. The Ksat exhibited a highly significant exponential reduction from 0% to 7.5% of BC500 application and approached an asymptote at 10% BC500. Bulk density showed a significant negative correlation to biochar application rate. The WHC and BC500 application rate illustrated a strong positive relationship. Biochar surface was free from hydrophobic functional groups. The addition of BC500 has a positive influence on soil hydraulic properties, primarily due to the increased soil porosity. The BC500 is composed of a microporous structure and hydrophilic surface that retain water in sandy textured soils. The application of BC500 would be a wise investment to maximize the water use efficiency in soils for agricultural production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number266
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by a 2015 Research Grant from Kangwon National University (No. 520150101), the Korea Ministry of Environment, as a Geo-Advanced Innovative Action Project (G112-00056-0004-0), and the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government [grant number NRF-2016R1C1B2006336]. Instrumental analyses were supported by the Korea Basic Science Institute, the Environmental Research Institute, and the Central Laboratory of Kangwon National University, Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the author.


  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Soil amendment
  • Soil physics
  • Soil porosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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