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Influence of biochar use on sugarcane growth, soil parameters, and groundwater quality

Yan Chen A C , Yoshiyuki Shinogi A and Masahiko Taira B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, National Institute for Rural Engineering, 2-1-6 Kannondai, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-8609, Japan.

B Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Okinawa Prefectural Government, 517 Yamakawa, Haebaru-Cho, Okinawa 901-1115, Japan.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Soil Research 48(7) 526-530
Submitted: 5 January 2010  Accepted: 5 May 2010   Published: 28 September 2010


This study deals with the influence of biochar use on sugarcane growth and nitrate-nitrogen percolation losses, as well as chemical and physical properties of Shimajiri maji soil. Two varieties of biochars, biosolids and bagasse (residues of sugarcane stalks after juice extraction), were mixed with Shimajiri maji soil. Changes in nitrate-nitrogen concentration in percolating water, specific gravity, and available soil moisture before sugarcane planting and after harvest were investigated. Indices of sugarcane growth (stem diameter and length), Brix, and yield of estimated available sugar in each plot were estimated.

Results indicated that bagasse charcoal reduced soil dry density and increased available moisture of Shimajiri maji soil. Maintaining suitable soil water content increased yields and sugar content of sugarcane, while nitrate-nitrogen concentration in percolating water also decreased. Hence, bagasse charcoal use may reduce nitrogen loads in Shimajiri maji soil.

Additional keywords: available soil moisture, Brix, nitrate-N, soil water content, water balance, yield of estimated available sugar.


This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (Rural Biomass Research Project, BEC (Biomass Ethanol Conversion) – 6100).


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