Nitrogen turnover and N2O/N2 ratio of three contrasting tropical soils amended with biochar

Biochar has been reported to reduce emission of nitrous oxide (N2O) from soils, but the mechanisms responsible remain fragmentary. For example, it is unclear how biochar effects on N2O emissions are mediated through biochar effects on soil gross N turnover rates. Hence, we conducted an incubation study with three contrasting agricultural soils from Kenya (an Acrisol cultivated for 10-years (Acrisol10); an Acrisol cultivated for over 100-years (Acrisol100); a Ferralsol cultivated for over 100years (Ferralsol)). The soils were amended with biochar at either 2% or 4% w/w. The 15N pool dilution technique was used to quantify gross N mineralization and nitrification and microbial consumption of extractable N over a 20-day incubation period at 25°C and 70% water holding capacity of the soil, accompanied by N2O emissions measurements.