A short-term effect of date palm biochars on NH3 volatilization and N transformation in calcareous sandy loam soil

  • Mohammad I. Al-WabelEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Implications of Biochar Application to Soil Environment under Arid Conditions


A short-term incubation experiment (30-day) was conducted using a calcareous sandy loam soil (having pH of 7.65 and CaCO3 of 16.8) amended with urea (U) at application rate of 360 kg N ha−1 in the presence and absence of biochars (BCs) produced from date palm waste at two pyrolysis temperatures of 300 (BC300) and 500 °C (BC500) with application rate of (0 and 45 Mg ha−1) at different incubation temperatures of 15, 25, and 35 °C to investigate their short-term effects on soil ammonia (NH3-N) volatilization and different forms of nitrogen (N) transformation. The results showed that applying BC300 had 23.1% and 12.5% and 10.2% significant (P = 0.05) lower cumulative NH3-N volatilization than U treatment at incubation temperatures of 15, 25, and 35 °C, respectively. Meanwhile, applying high pyrolysis temperature BC (BC500) showed significant (P = 0.05) lower cumulative NH3-N volatilization only at 15 °C, which accounted for 21.9% lower than U treatment. The concentrations of ammonium (NH4-N) in the soil increased with the progress of incubation time and reached the maximum peak at days 3–15 of incubation. With the progress of incubation time, BC300-treated soil showed a higher concentration of NH4-N and ammonification rate than those of other treatments (U and U + BC500); however, BCs did not show significant effects on NO3-N concentration and nitrification rate. Hence, integrated use of urea and biochar pyrolyzed at 300 °C having acidic functional groups and high content of total acidity may serve as an efficient fertilization strategy for minimizing NH3-N volatilization and enhancing the available form of N in calcareous soils from an arid environment.


Ammonification Nitrification Calcareous soils Biochar Incubation 



This research was supported by the Research Center, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, Deanship of Scientific Research, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Supplementary material

12517_2019_4538_MOESM1_ESM.docx (54 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 53.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Soil Sciences Department, College of Food & Agricultural SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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