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Ongoing Projects

The effects of biochar surface chemistry and physical properties on soil biota in different biochar-soil systems (OTKA_ Research)

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Project title: The effects of biochar surface chemistry and physical properties on soil biota in different biochar-soil systems

Funding Programme: OTKA

Funding Agency: National Research, Development and Innovation Office

Project Identification Number: NKFI120464

Project duration: 2016. 11. 01 –  2019. 10. 31.

Project type: Basic research (non-consortial)

Project partners: Department of Applied Biotechnology and Food Science (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)

Summary: 

The continuously growing interest in field-scale biochar soil application, either for improving degraded soil characteristics and increasing productivity, or for replacing inorganic fertilizers highlights the poorly defined fundamental mechanism by which biochar affects the soil functions and draws the attention to an effective evaluation of the interactions between biochar and soil biota. There are very few comprehensive studies which provide quantitative data and detailed qualitative descriptions of fundamentals concerning biochar effect on soil biota or on changes in soil physico-chemical properties.
The main objectives of our research are to find and describe clear evidence on the relationship and interactions between biochar physical properties as well as surface chemistry and biochar-mediated changes in soil biology. Fundamental mechanisms are planned to be explored by which biochar affects functions of soil such as nutrient cycling, water flow and storage, soil structural dynamics, biodiversity and role as a habitat for microflora, animals and plant roots.
We aim to characterize the long-term effects and time-sequenced reactions on soil biota in different soil-biochar systems and to identify the prioritized soil-specific characteristics of biochar products aiming at the use of biochar as soil amendment. Particular properties of biochar for use in specific agricultural context will be selected; rationalized test battery for evaluation of sustainable application of biochar to soil will be established.