Pedosphere 30(6): 719--733, 2020
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2020 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Increased phosphorus availability to corn resulting from the simultaneous applications of phosphate rock, calcareous rock, and biochar to an acid sandy soil
Rogério Borguete Alves RAFAEL1,2, Maria Luisa FERNÁNDEZ-MARCOS3,6, Stefania COCCO2, Maria Letizia RUELLO4, Flavio FORNASIER5, Giuseppe CORTI2
1Department of Rural Engineering, Faculty of Agronomy and Forestry Engineering, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo 257(Mozambique)
2Department of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona 60131(Italy)
3Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Lugo 27002(Spain)
4Department of Materials, Environmental Sciences and Urban Planning, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona 60131(Italy)
5Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura, Centro di Ricerca per lo Studio delle Relazioni tra Pianta e Suolo(C. R. E. A. -R. P. S.), Gorizia 34170(Italy)
6Instituto de Biodiversidade Agraria e Desenvolvemento Rural, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Lugo 27002(Spain)
Corresponding Author:Rogério Borguete Alves RAFAEL
ABSTRACT
      Phosphorus (P) deficiency is one of the main constraints on crop production in Arenosols (acid sandy soil). The high cost of P fertilizers may represent an insurmountable obstacle in many poor countries, leaving the exploitation of their own calcareous and phosphate rocks as the only low-cost and long-term alternative. Biochar is suggested to have positive effects on soil properties; however, there is no published research on the synergistic effects of biochar and rocky materials in modifying soil properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the chemical and biochemical responses of an acid Arenosol treated with phosphate rock (PR), calcareous rock (CR), and biochar (BC), and the implications for corn yield. A soil from Marracuene District, Mozambique was used, where corn was grown for 90 d with the soil treated with:no addition (control), water-soluble zinc phosphite fertilizer (WSP), PR, WSP+CR, WSP+BC, WSP+CR+BC, PR+BC, and PR+CR+BC. Biochar was produced by pyrolysis of babycorn peels for 4 h at 450℃ and applied at 11 g kg-1. The soil pHH2O increased from about 4.54 in the control to 7.38 in the PR+CR+BC treatment. Easily oxidizable organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, and available P were higher in the treatments containing BC than in the control. The treatments containing CR and/or BC led to the highest activities of alkaline phosphomonoesterase, phosphodiesterase, and α-glucosidase, which increased P availability and gave the greatest biomass and yields. We suggest that biochar provides additional soluble P and supplies adsorption sites for phosphate, preventing its evolution to unavailable forms. Thus, PR applied together with BC contributed to an 840% yield increase compared to the control. The treatments containing WSP and BC facilitated phosphite oxidation to phosphate and increased crop yield.
Key Words:  Arenosols,available P,enzyme activity,phosphite oxidation,soil fertility
Citation: Rafael R B A, Fernández-Marcos M L, Cocco S, Ruello M L, Fornasier F, Corti G. 2020. Increased phosphorus availability to corn resulting from the simultaneous applications of phosphate rock, calcareous rock, and biochar to an acid sandy soil. Pedosphere. 30(6):719-733.
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